Gloomy January slumps along, but yesterday a letter made the day feel like June. I received an ecstatic email from former student Laure Croza, who went from writing memoir to writing for young people – one of her fine stories is on this website under “Teaching.” She wrote to say that a story of hers has just been accepted for publication by Groundwood Books. Groundwood is one of the best children’s publishers in the country, so she is starting at the very top.
And then she wrote, “Thank you Beth for nurturing me and sending me down this path. I’m not being sappy when I say I wouldn’t be here without you.”
From the very first essay that she wrote in class, Laure had clarity, heart, courage and skill. She also had absolutely no self-confidence, but she kept going nonetheless, and soon she’ll be holding her first book. And in my dignified teacherly way, I say to Laure, “WOO HOO!”
I have been asked by U of T to teach a class called “Personal Narrative.” The course used to be taught by the wonderful storyteller Helen Porter, who died tragically young last year. I am honoured to be asked to try to fill her shoes.