Jim in the Classroom
Last summer I taught a class at the Southern California American Indian Resource Center (SCAIR), an organization that offers a variety of educational and community services to Native Americans living in San Diego County.
The workshop was like no teaching experience I’ve ever had. The women who participated in the program had little formal writing training, but they had stories, and for ten weeks we worked on ways to get those stories on the page.
The workshop was part of a PEN in the Community (PITC) residency and culminated in an anthology and book release party in December of 2011, which the video below documents in stirring fashion.
The evening was especially gratifying because my wife, Nuvia Crisol Guerra, created the art for the book cover, and she presented the painting to SCAIR at the party.
The video lasts five minutes and includes appearances by Michelle Meyering, PEN’s director of programming and events, who coordinated the workshop; Frank Panucci, SCAIR’s project coordinator, who facilitated the workshop and made my job much easier; and yours truly.
Lastly, PEN is looking for more instructors for their PITC programs in San Diego County. If you’d like more information about how you can get involved, contact Heather Simons, PITC Program Manager.
Jim Ruland’s creative nonfiction has appeared in The Believer, The Collagist, The Fanzine, Hobart, L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, Oxford American, r.kv.r.y, Razorcake Fanzine and San Diego CityBeat. Jim was recently awarded Grand Prize in Reader’s Digest “Your Life…” contest. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a scholarship from Bread Loaf. He curates the reading series Vermin on the Mount, and is the author of the short story collection, Big Lonesome.