Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On the Way to New Caledonia – Teaching Through the Islands

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 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, how she was bit in Bora Bora, and then she described her first class while teaching en route to Fiji.  Most recently she shared: Second Lecture en Route to Fiji:A Great Story to Tell, and Fiji but the Wrong Port! (I won’t mention it, but I will.)


For the fourth lecture, I had the pleasure of teaching my student groupies in the Wheelhouse Bar.  I was getting to know some of them by name.  It was only 1:15 in the afternoon and nobody ordered from the bar.  Maybe they wanted to stay sober enough to handle their pens.  Quite a few attendees took notes.  Still, I suspect most were there out of curiosity this time rather than following up on a personal writing plan.  I was teaching about screenwriting and the business.

 My Power Point for this one is particularly fun since I use dramatic movie posters.

Before I left on the cruise, I got the nod to do this from an attorney.  Always be sure you have the rights to use an image or information taken directly from someone else.  I took my attorney correspondence along with me, just in case.

There wasn’t another lecture in the Wheelhouse after mine so I stayed behind for 20 minutes answering questions, and passing out handouts and my business cards.  After I changed out of my jacket and into shorts, Wen and I enjoyed the most beautiful sushi buffet we’d ever seen. 

Wen tried again to play the Western style mahjong and found it very odd – new tiles and a different way of winning and scoring.  He still managed to win twice.  That night’s comedian was a flop; he specialized in fart jokes and playing the harmonica.  It didn’t strike a chord with the crowd.  The ocean continued to rock and roll until we made our way to Noumea, New Caledonia, which brags the second longest barrier reef in the world.

Captains stay out of all decisions about cruise entertainment.  But Captain Perra, from Italy, must have known I was part of the crew for this leg of the trip; he offered a cordial “hi” and a smile when he poked out of his hidey hole across from our crew cabin or when we bumped into him in the crew hall.

From the port we boarded shuttle busses from the gangway heading away from the dock.  New Caledonia is clean and felt a lot like Nice or Cannes.  French signs on the stores reminded me that my French grows rustier over the years. 

Someone suggested we go to duck island marine reserve for snorkeling.  So we took a $15 round trip glass bottom boat out.  It was cold and windy.  I stayed on the beach only steps from an object lesson—a rag-sculpted man with trash on a leash.  

Wen snorkeled and spotted some large grouper despite the murky water.  My mouth watered.  I love grouper!  Locals fished down the beach a few hundred yards.  We weren’t equipped.  And we doubted we’d be allowed to take fish to shore to eat.

Back on board, dinner was smart casual followed by cruise entertainers bringing the British invasion to life in the big theater. 

The nightly delivery of the Princess Patter suggested cruise guests fill out a survey about their time on the ship.  I’d been told by my cruise broker that I’m not allowed to fill one out.  I suppose they worry I’d stuff the box with votes for the writer as numero uno entertainer!  J    In fact, according to my broker, not hearing anything about my “performance” means all went well.  While on board, I rely on the activities director and attendees to let me know how things have gone.  The AV helper had one piece of advice: when there’s an entertainer following me, give him an extra 10 minutes to set up for the next person.  So my lectures were cut down to 45 minutes.  He was then a happy sailor.


Thank you again, Karen!

Please join us on September 10th for the next installment in this series: Don't Judge an Island by its Dogs.


juno said...

Very interesting blog! Enjoyed hearing what it's like to teach on board a cruise ship and your experiences.
By the way, my mother and father met in New Caledonia during World War II. My dad was in the Cavalry--they sent horses there and he trained the horses and riders. They never went into battle. He spoke French and got invited to eat dinner with plantation owners.
My mother was in the Red Cross and served food to soldiers.
They were both from Minnesota.
Alice Kober

Anonymous said...

Sounded fun, Inky! Spreading the Good Work and Word! :-]

You, you just don't hear enough about New Caledonia anymore. It's always "Nice" this or "Cannes" that. Or "How's your new villa in Castello di Casole?"

But what about New Caledonia?

Thank you for putting New Caledonia back on the map!

Sisters of the Quill said...

Glad to hear you have some family history in New Caledonia. Frank, I suspect Laura has some say in what you've written. Didn't she go there sometimes when she was working for the airline?