Bay State Parent recently ran a long feature story about the story behind Mr. Clark’s Big Band. Writer Melissa Shaw began the piece this way:
A Southborough mother and writer has transformed the unexpected death of a 12-year-old into a book detailing the true story of how the bond between a music teacher and his students helped them grieve and grow following the loss of their friend.
Shaw — who solicited comments from Suzy Green, the mother of the 12-year-old — also spent time speaking with Jamie Clark about the book:
Published in May, the book has been well-received by the community, former Big Band members, and the subject himself: ‘I have read the book and I love it!’ Clark says. ‘Reading it was an emotional experience, as I relived all the events covered in the book. I am incredibly proud of how the students [specifically] and the community [as a whole] rallied to support each other in that difficult time. … I hope that it helps others who are grieving and offers some guidance for the caretakers of children who have suffered a loss.'”
Read the full article here.
Image credit: Bay State Parent.
I was honored to join fellow 2017 graduates of Bay Path University’s creative nonfiction MFA program this spring in the Hatch Library and to read aloud from my thesis, Uncomfortably Numb.
The rapidly growing MFA program, in which I enrolled in the fall of 2014, is staffed by a number of writers and editors with real-world experience who provided support and encouragement to the graduate students, something for which I remain grateful.
Among the faculty members whose guidance had a powerful, personal impact on me and my writing: Anthony D’Aries, Yankee Magazine’s Mel Allen, Susan Ito, and Adam Braver.
D’Aries, who will become the coordinator of Western Connecticut State University MFA program this fall, introduced me at the MFA event with generous and gracious remarks. (Photo right.) D’Aries offered valuable feedback as I worked on Mr. Clark’s Big Band — published in May 2017 — and workshopped large swaths of the narrative nonfiction work in his classes.
Meanwhile, Braver, my thesis adviser, was instrumental in helping me sculpt and develop my medical memoir into a richer and more reflective work. I am currently developing the memoir.
After completing the creative nonfiction program, I was more than happy to share my thoughts about it for the Bay Path MFA program’s website, where a number of my classmates also weighed in on their experiences.
Image credits: Bay Path University’s MFA in creative nonfiction program.
National music groups have been promoting Mr. Clark’s Big Band on social media.
A number of blogs have published an essay I wrote about the advantages of having your child in a classroom taught by someone who takes risks, who puts his or her emotions out in the open, who is willing to give the students what they really need.
Bernetta Style: This blog ran the article under the title, “Your Child’s Teacher May be Doing Right by Giving Students What They Want.”
TwinMom: This site featured the piece which also highlights how school officials at a Southborough, Massachusetts middle school ditched their concerns about precedent in order to provide students the support they craved.
Books By T. Smith: This blog also published the essay whose main point can be summarized by these two lines:
To the children at Trottier Middle School, breaking down the emotional barriers between student and teacher–which many faculty doggedly maintain as a badge of professionalism, not worrying about precedent-setting in order to tend to the emotional needs of its students was just what these children needed to emerge on the other side of grief. What I learned by watching this school for a year: sometimes you need to set the rules aside and give the students what they need.
Reading with Frugal Mom: The Frugal Mom published this piece on its Reading with Frugal Mom website and promoted it on its Adventures with Frugal Mom Twitter account. Thank you!!
Image credits: BernettaStyle website, TwinMom website, Books By T. Smith, and Reading with Frugal Mom.
If you’re looking for information on Boston area writer and journalism educator Meredith O’Brien, you’ve come to the right place.
Please feel free to look through some of my articles, books and educational experiences.
I’ll be posting updates on my new publishing and teaching endeavors here as they occur.
Until then, I’m off to tend to my two bickering rescue dogs and getting ready for the next Red Sox season.
The main image for this web site is from the Hess Collection, of Leopoldo Maler’s burning typewriter. I have a thing for typewriters.