This summer I am co-facilitating Gateway's Summer Institute. It's one of the National Writing Project sites (Gateway is at U. of Missouri-St. Louis) and is an intense graduate course. We meet for five weeks, four days a week, from 9-3:30. (It's a 6-credit class.)
I love it.
A couple of days ago, the other teacher (Nancy) and I demonstrated a way their writing response groups could critique each other's work. Nancy (who is white) shared a poem about the worries she has for her son. Her son has a friend who is black. She compared her concerns to the issues her son's friend's mother deals with. (Have I lost you yet?)
I suggested she try writing it in the style of a two-voice poem. At that point, Nancy didn't want to completely overhaul her piece. She also simply might not have liked the suggestion I made, which was fine. It's her work, and her decision...
However, after thinking about it, I was inspired to write a two-voice poem comparing the worries I have for my son with the worries a friend of mine has about her son. (Both of our boys are the same age, but her son was shot when an intruder came into his house. He is now a paraplegic.)
So, even though Nancy requested some feedback, it was unwanted, but I embraced it and made it work for me.
How do you deal with unwanted/unasked for advice?