Writing a Memoir With OLLI

Beth Hermes has the rare ability to make you feel as if you can do anything. It probably has every-thing to do with the fact she is a confi-dent woman herself, and that she has the heart of a writer. She is quick to preach “no fear” and encourage freedom of expression to her writing students.

“Everybody has a story. They just need to be given the opportunity to tell it,” she said.

Beth is a recent addition to the College of Continuing and Professional Education, but is seasoned when it comes to teaching. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is excited to welcome Beth this August.

Beth said that most people come to her class worried what other people think and trying to live up to some unfounded expectation. “They come into the class writing what they think you want them to write,” she said. In the first class she goes about trying to undo the fears that have been piled on them over the years. “I want them to experience the joy of being a child again. The joy of writing what’s on the inside and not worrying about what somebody else thinks,” she said, adding, “I want them to have that little glow that kids have when they are excited about something.”

Classes include plenty of time for writing and talking about what things they can do outside the classroom to help them develop their writing skills. Observation skills rate high with Beth. She challenges students to look closer at the world around them, which ulti-mately provides endless inspiration for stories and char-acters. Stopping to look around at a stoplight or listening to conversations in a public place can get the creativity going.

“A huge welcoming smile put me at ease immediately. Beth Hermes challenged us to draw from our experiences spontaneously in a relaxed writing medium,” states Chris Beam, fellow student. “Her insights and list of resources for the beginning and sea-soned writer were unlimited. Each class inspired and motivated me to write, write, write!”

Memoir Writing will take place at KSU Center from August 8th through September 26th, eight consecutive Wednesdays from 10:30 am to noon. The cost is $119. Space is limited so call now to reserve your spot!

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