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Profiles of seasoned seniors who returned to school and made life-long dreams come true.
Excerpt from Gospel Today, July 2002 Issue
Just Try It!
Taking individual courses can also help students to find a new calling and a new voice later in life.
Marvin Arnett wrote so well in her first English course that her professor told her that she could get paid for her writing. The next semester her creative writing professor told her the same thing and encouraged her to complete a book of essays. Now after meeting his challenge and distributing that collection, Pieces from the Crazy Quilt: Memoirs of a Great Grandmother through an on-line, print on demand publisher, she recently signed a deal with the University of Nebraska Press to have a hardcover edition of her book released in 2003 under the revised title, Pieces from Life's Crazy Quilt. For Arnett, her foray into college has led to awards and a new way of honing her talent for writing.
One day in 1994, I noticed an article in the Detroit News describing a Seasoned Citizen's Program at U of M-Dearborn. For a nominal fee a senior could take 12 accredited hours in any subjects they chose. I immediately signed up for the Creative Writing class. I was uncertain whether I wanted to enter a degree program, but thought that a writing class would fit into several programs if I decided to go that way. I took several other classes but became enamoured with writing. The class gave me courage to take some of my work out of hiding and shop it around. I had an essay about a trip to Ghana published in the Detroit News Magazine section. The die was cast.
My writing instructor, Professor Linn, encouraged me to write a memoir of my childhood growing up in Detroit, beginning with my birth in 1928, moving through the Great Depression and ending with the infamous race riot of 1943. I self published the book with some success. When a copy fell into the hands of a MSU professor, lightning struck. I accepted a two book contract by The University of Nebraska Press, and a revised version of my book (Pieces from Life's Crazy Quilt) is due out spring or 2003. All is in divine order.