I dreamed of being a writer since I was in second grade, but it wasn’t until I took my first class with Kristin Lauer that I fell in love with writing itself.
She was my first and best creative writing teacher in college and was endlessly inventive in her choice of assignments. But more than that, she was a model for how I would teach when I entered academia for a while years later. She did not believe in pointing out everything that was wrong with your work, in bullying you like a coach, in making you tough because ”the world is tough.”
Her approach was through humor and encouragement. She worked from the inside out of your story or sketch, making you feel like she was communing with it, and with you.
She said to me more than once that I’d publish and win prizes some day if only I wrote something ”real.” That was my City of Gold, the mystical goal that I reached with my first publication. It was a story drawing on my own life as the son of Holocaust survivors, a story I needed to tell but was afraid to.