The two things that I enjoy most in this life are writing and — I’m discovering this more and more — teaching.
I’ve loved the classroom experience since I was five years old, and I sat in the back of my father’s classroom, watching him teach high school students. He was a lively, engaging, enthusiastic teacher, and a great role model. Some of my high school teachers became influential figures in my life, and a few of them remain dear and trusted friends to this day. My favorite college professor, the legendary Luke Reinsma, is retiring next year, and I’m attending his “Last Lecture” tonight at Seattle Pacific University.
I’m grateful that I get to work as a writer and editor at Seattle Pacific because I get to support and promote the teaching of truly amazing faculty members like Reinsma. And it’s because of my love of what can happen in a classroom that I’m earning my MFA in Creative Writing at SPU now. (You can track my progress on Twitter at @MyMFAatSPU.)
Writing, reviewing, and blogging… those are forms of teaching. That’s part of what I love about them. But I don’t do that kind of work to hear my own voice. I do it in hopes that somebody writes back. Teaching in front of a living, breathing class is the best, because then I have the freedom of using my voice… and the freedom to learn from dialogue with others in the classroom.
When I’m not in a classroom — and I’m not currently teaching a class — radio shows and podcasts are fine substitutes.
My favorite podcasting experience so far has been Dick Staub’s long-running show The Kindlings Muse, in which he invites a panel of talkative folks to discuss important questions related to art and culture.On Monday night, at Hale’s Ales Brewery and Pub, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, I’ll join Dr. Jeff Keuss, Dr. Chris Chaney, author Jennie Spohr, and cinematographer Heath Ward to discuss Darren Aronofsky’s Noah before a live audience. I’m looking forward to the Q&A, especially. The podcast will eventually be posted for all to enjoy, but you’re invited to the actual show. You might even get your voice onto the podcast!
I recently enjoyed being interviewed by the magnificent Mary Hynes, host of the CBC radio show Tapestry, thanks to her resourceful colleague Shelina, who sought me out and set up the interview. (That came as a response to my recent appearance in The New Yorker.)
It’ll be broadcast this weekend. If you’re here with me in Seattle, listen to KUOW 2 on Sunday at 10 a.m.
But if you’re like to hear the show now, visit the Tapestry website. About 36 minutes into this episode of CBC’s Tapestry with Mary Hynes, the eloquent and gracious host Mary Hynes patiently lets me ramble on about art, faith, Muppets, Christian movie reviews, Tolkien’s idea of “sub-creation,” and looking Through a Screen Darkly.
What a pleasure and an honor it was to speak with her. I hope you enjoy the show.
And remember — it isn’t really teaching unless the person who does most of the talking learns from the teachers who are patiently listening. So let me know what you think.