Blogs are as diverse as the people who write them. I’ve just spent a very interesting week teaching a “Blogging for Beginners” course at a summer school and the result has been fascinating.
This is the fifth year I’ve taught at the annual creative arts summer school Camp Creative, in the pretty little town of Bellingen in a lush green valley in northern New South Wales. In previous years, I have taught a class on how to write “people profiles” and for three years my course has focussed on travel writing. Last year’s travel writing class had a component about travel blogs and there was such interest that this year I decided to teach blogging, which I felt had a wider interest as students could blog about any subject they wanted.
We are a small class this year – but an amazingly diverse group of interests and blogs. Technical challenges aside, the five bloggers have in a week made huge strides in establishing their blogs and creating content.
One of my students, Pam, was in my travel writing class last year. She arrived keen to show me that she’d had one of last year’s efforts – about her river cruise on the Rhine – published! Pam’s blog Pampered Pilgrim is about her travels, which this year included walking part of the Camino Trail.
Phil is blogging about his experiences as he fights colon cancer. Managing Cancer is based on his writings since being diagnosed last year and is both informative and moving.
Adam’s blog, Splotry, is a showcase for his cartoons. “Basically, I’m a nerd,” he says, adding that because he is deaf he prefers visual and printed media. His vivid characters include Kimmy Faye, his “rather elderly bog-standard diesel utility truck”.
Michael is using his blog as a way of expressing his opinions on a range of subjects in Australian life today and as a way of helping students of English as a second language. Next to Something is, he says, “in direct contrast to the more familiar claim of knowing ‘next to nothing’ about a particular matter”.
Linda had to cut short the course before the last day, as she was flying off to Germany today as a Rotary Exchange Student. Her blog German Wanderlust is a way of sharing her experiences and adventures in Europe with her family and friends, and giving potential exchange students an insight into what to expect. Good luck and bon voyage, Linda!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting these interesting people, and seeing their blogs develop. All so different!
Camp Creative has been running for 29 years now, and the diversity of courses available is extraordinary. Everything from canoe building to singing, African drumming to ukelele classes, watercolour painting to sculpture, bamboo furniture making to Bollywood dancing. And more! There are courses for all ages, from about five years old to people in their 70s (or maybe older).
The classrooms and grounds of Bellingen’s high school and primary school hum with activity and music, and it’s truly inspiring to be part of. Maybe one of these years, I’ll become a student instead of a teacher! Because as the children say: “It’s cool to be at school!”