Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A new adventure

Today I embarked on a new adventure. I attended my first "faculty" meeting at Carnegie Mellon University. The word "faculty" is in quotes because I'm not actually on the faculty of CMU, but I am part of a distinguished group of individuals over 50 who will be teaching older adults through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the university. And I'm thrilled, simply because I love teaching. 

From the Osher at CMU website

In a few weeks, I'll begin my first course -- Fictional Characters Anonymous, a workshop conducted much like an AA meeting... except everyone there will be a fictional character. It's a fun way for authors to discover the nuances of characters from their novels so they can fine tune them. The workshop is both enjoyable and scary for me. It's scary because I never know what characters I'm going to be up against. Nor do I know how varied their "lives" are -- from a 13-year-old Babylonian to a 15th century dragon. My challenge is to somehow make them all blend into a therapy group who supports and challenges each other. 

In November, my Inspiring Others workshop begins. In this 4-week course, I will help writers transform their true tales into stories worthy of appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul. With my 8th story due out in less than a week, I love teaching others the winning formula to their own publishing success.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream." That seems to be the overriding attitude of the Osher program. Like me, these older adults are embarking on new adventures whenever they sign up for a new class. Many of them discover latent talents and that opens up a whole new world for them.

I am honored and excited to be part of this and highly recommend you check it out for yourself (if you're over 50) or encourage your parents or in-laws to participate if there is a program near you. There are 119 campuses across the country where you'll find Osher classes. Here in Pittsburgh, we're fortunate that there are Osher programs at both University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon. Unfortunately, there are approximately 1,000 people on the waiting list to join the group at CMU.  I'm unsure of what the availability is at Pitt.

The important thing, for all of us, is that we never stop learning and never stop growing. For me, being involved with Osher at CMU is just another step in that process. I can't wait!

What about you? What are you doing to feed your brain and your soul?

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