Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Teaching En Route to Fiji – Sea Princess

We're delighted to again welcome Karen Albright Lin to Chiseled in Rock!

Karen consults and edits for published and yet-to-be published writers of fiction, nonfiction, and book proposals. She writes in a number of genres and conducts writing workshops in various venues, including on cruise ships.

If you missed her four previous blogs regarding Teaching through the Islands, you might enjoy reading them before this installment, as she first shared her preparations in anticipation of teaching classes while on board her latest cruise, discussed some of the downsides to teaching on a cruise, introduced us to new tablemates and the private beach on Moorea, and then explained how she was bit in Bora Bora!


Karen Albright Lin:

With Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora in our wake, we sailed toward Fiji.

The May 4th Daily Patter let passengers know it was a dress-formal evening.  We’d be at sea two days heading west northwesterly through the South Pacific.  I would teach on both days.  The tease for my first class read:

1:30 pm Enrichment Lecture: Writing Your Life – Tricks and Techniques for Writing About Your Life.  With guest speaker and author Karen Lin.  Vista Lounge.  Deck 7 Aft.

I slept in then had a nice brunch before heading to the most comfy venue on the ship, the three hundred plus-seat Vista Lounge.  The first lecture on any trip is always the most nerve wracking, not knowing how the audio visual setup will work or how many people will show up.  It turned out there was an ego-stroking large screen, an efficient AV expert, and an enthusiastic crowd.  I never got an official count, but I’d estimate somewhere around 75-100 attendees, most of them ages 50+. 

I like to start with Writing Your Life because older crowds are motivated to leave a legacy.  The subject draws them in.

Teaching on three cruises in the past year, I've found the first attendees stick around for subsequent lectures.  The goal is to see the crowd grow.  So when I signed on with Princess, my offering 2-6 expanded the appeal to broader topics about writing and publishing. 

The audience was attentive and friendly.  Aussies interacted with me more than Europeans did on the Baltic Cruise.  I was mobbed after the class with questions, requests for my business card, and interest in picking up my handout.  After I got the Reader’s Digest version of a sound-man’s experience with many known musicians and his desire to write about it, I advised him as we left the theater to clear it for the next event—something about treating age spots offered by a spa employee.

Wen and I usually travel with mostly wrinkle-free clothing.  But this night being formal night, we frowned over crumpled items.  No irons were allowed in the state rooms, but use of one in the laundry room was free.  If we’d needed to wash anything, it would have cost two Australian dollars for one load.  

A gut-splitting woman from Melbourne told me there were fights over the laundry room.   One lady’s dress disappeared from the dryer only to show up on another woman later.  The thief said, “Prove it’s yours!”  The victim said, “I made the dress.”  There was no tag; it was hand sewn and one of a kind; it was hard to deny what had happened.  Imagine stealing a dress from a dryer then wearing it when the chances of being seen by the owner had to be pretty high!  It could have been stand-up material for the comedian who would later board. 

Cruises are great places to collect grist for the writing mill.  

The next day, also a sea day, I would teach Have a Great Story to Tell?  The Inside Scoop

My 50 minutes would be up against a poolside singing duo, a champagne art auction, and a bean bag toss.  I hoped to have another good turnout, that many of the same smiles would shine, that there would be even more participation and interaction.  On toward Fiji.


Thank you, Karen!

I hope you'll join us on July 30th for the next installment in Karen's series on Teaching through the Islands: Have a Great Story to Tell?  The Inside Scoop.

1 comment:

Jill said...

I cannot believe someone would steal a dress on a cruise line! Great story and I love that you start your talks with such a crowd-pleasing topic!