Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Voice Lessons

Monday, I gave my first lessons at the George Benson college here at Namwiamga Mission. I suggested several topics to the English department here and they liked the idea of talking about authorial voice and writing from the heart. With two one-hour classes to give, I made up a couple of Keynote presentations, understanding the warning that they had electricity, but it wasn't guaranteed reliable.

But making the presentations at least gave me an outline to talk from, and I made sure that I have paper copies handy, just in case.

There were two presentations of the first hour, back to back, and my voice held out, I'm glad to say. The faces watching me were an interesting study in contrast. Some were rapt. Especially in the second hour, with the Math and History majors, there were a few who dozed off. And just as I'd been warned, no body asked questions. I take that back. One young man did ask for a clarification and I tried to give it. If they were having as much difficulty understanding my Texas flavored English as I was with Zambian English, I'm surprised that all of then hadn't dozed off. At least they could read the slides projected on the wall.

After supper, about 15 of them arrived on the veranda for a discussion of writing for publication. I did my best to get them to talk, and although only three of them admitted to having written anything, and few were willing to ask any questions, we did get along for about an hour. Only when the group broke up did the people with real interest linger. Out of those 15, maybe five had a real desire to write and I hope I get a chance to talk to them one on one and look at their work.

In thirty minutes, I'll be giving the second presentation. I hope my voice will last.

No comments: