Since my executive days ended I’ve been spending about half my time teaching: classes in writing, publishing, transmedia, and the graphic novel, all areas where my practical experience weighs heavily enough to balance for my lack of traditional academic credentials. I had the pleasure of learning from many wonderful teachers, both in classroom settings and in professional ones, and it was always on my bucket list to see if I would enjoy the experience. I do–because (as Karen Berger commented on hearing I was going to teach) “(I) enjoy the sound of my own voice,” but also because the energy of the students can be infectious, and I find myself learning about my subjects as I teach.
Some of the learning is from the preparation for the classes. I just finished “AN EMPIRE OF THEIR OWN,” a great examination of the Jewish entrepreneurs who built Hollywood, which seemed a logical book to read before tightening my syllabus for this fall’s “Comics, Graphic Novels and the Jews” course at Princeton. I was broadly familiar with the history, and had heard a couple of Jack Warner stories from one of the execs at Warner Bros. who had worked with him and was still around when I began showing up there, but there was so much more information and texture in the volume.
Maybe more valuable to me is the learning from codifying theories in order to teach what I’ve done by instinct. Simple lines like character is is revealed by choices, especially by choices with costs, seem to help convey fundamentals of writing. And once codified, serve to remind me of important goals to strive of in my own work.
Off to read Paul Buhle’s “JEWS AND AMERICAN COMICS” next…