For a few months, I have been casting out in the universe for the next thing. I wondered if I was going to take another acting class, going back to study with the improv teacher I worked with a few years ago. That class was wonderful, helping me so much in the classroom. From that point on, I realized that my body was actually a teaching tool, that I could move in and through the class room in ways that, for one, would keep students awake. I'm not talking about doing a strip tease but about being there, present, alive, alert, my body helping me convey ideas.
After about three classes with this teacher, I decided that was enough. I wasn't aiming to become the new greatest improv artist in the world, even though I'd enjoyed the performance piece I'd developed and presented to an audience. Later, I decided to take more Spanish, some French. My languages were wobbly, and I ended up having to stop the language classes when I separated from my husband because I found myself working more, by choice.
I went to a class at Esalen, but it wasn't a great class, and I realized I'd only gone there for the massage and mineral baths. From that point on, I've been languishing a little with my learning, teaching far more than I was learning.
I started my first novel in a class at the Napa Valley Writers' Conference, in a fiction class with Cristina Garcia. Sometimes, I get a little irritated with teaching as I do it so often, every semester, and I know a thing or two about talking to students. What I have to let go of is that teaching hubris on my part. I have to shut the hell up and listen. I have to let go of the teacher and become the student, and in that class, I handed it all over and just sat and listened and learned. When I left at the end of the week, I had the beginning of Her Daughter' Eyes, the published opening the same as it was that ridiculously hot summer of 1999.
Before then, I took many more classes in fiction, and after the publication of my novel, I took a few poetry classes, knowing that I'm not one of the five geniuses roaming the planet who can write perfectly without help, criticism, critique, or revision. I am the true work-in-progress person, the student in need of eternal help.
But life moved in and pushed away classes with its big ass. Life needs a reducing plan. So the good news is that I have found the next thing in a couple of ways. The first is that the book I'm working on now is nonfiction, and the second is that in November, I'm taking a class in LA with Samantha Dunn through UCLA Extension on memoir and personal narrative. I'm so excited for this class, I'm about to run out and buy new pencils, an eraser, and a Barbie lunchbox. I want a new dress from Sears and a fresh pair of PF Flyers. For the first time in a while, I feel like there is something new to hold and touch and feel, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to learn about it.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org