Laurie’s reflection on coming to King’s College

The November session of Empowering Hours was one of its kind. Empowering Hours is a monthly sharing platform where among passionate teachers organized by Center for Innovative Pedagogy and Learning (CIPL). We had Laurie Wagner, who shared about her writing and teaching practices.

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Laurie Wagner has been publishing books and essays, and teaching writing for the last 25 years. She is a process guru and has a genius for holding space, helping people unzip what’s inside of them, and getting ink on the page. She is the author of Living Happily Ever After: Couples Talk about Long Term Love, and Expectations: 30 Women Talk about Becoming a Mother.

Here is her short reflection on coming to King’s College in her own words:

You know, it’s pretty amazing to travel 7000 miles across the world and to realize that we’re all so much more the same than we are different.

I wasn’t sure who I was going to meet when I arrived at King’s College in late November. I’d been invited to share my work by my friend Abhilasha Rayamajhi, who is in charge of the writing department there.

Honestly, the work of Wild Writing isn’t very academic – it’s actually a creative, very loose kind of writing where we’re invited to drop our social masks and write from a vulnerable and true place. My job is to help people relax so they can fall into the sound of their own voice, and let go of the part of themselves that works too hard to try and write something great. I want writing to be easy, and natural, which is why I often tell people to “write as poorly as possible,” before they start writing, so they can let go, and just be themselves.

I didn’t know if the students at Kings College would want to do that. This was a college where I’m sure people take their studies pretty seriously. What would they think of writing in such an intimate way – sharing their real lives on the page?

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Could that kind of writing be important to them too?

“Who wants to read?” I asked the group of 25 students after our first writing. Hands shot up, throats were cleared and for the next 20 minutes we sat quietly, listening to some very brave people read the stories of their lives. I was blown away. I was 7000 miles from home and I related to everything I heard as if it were written by a friend. Many of us had come into the room as strangers, but we left more connected – to ourselves through the writing – and to each other through our true stories.

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