Monday, July 20, 2009

Frank McCourt died yesterday

He was my favorite teacher in High School. He was funny, and cranky, and made fun of Ernest Hemingway ("We went fishing. It was good.")

Our assignments in his class were to read short stories by famous authors and then to write a short story about something we knew in the style of the short story we had just read. Mr. McCourt insisted that we only write about things we knew - even if it was a fictional story it could not include people whose lives were very different from our own.

I will write more about him later, but I think I won't be able to top what my classmate, Daniel Radosh, says about him in his blog.

Goodbye, Mr. McCourt. I will always be so grateful to you.

7 comments:

Scrivener said...

How cool that you were a student of his! I got to meet and talk with him once, and he was so funny, charming, and gracious. I can so easily imagine that he would be a favorite teacher.

radosh said...

My clothing catalog in the style of Hemmingway was one of the first parodies I ever wrote. And this was before J. Peterman got the idea. Fortunately McCourt loved it. We were lucky to know him, weren't we?

liz said...

Daniel, we were very lucky. I love that you got to show him your book.

Scriv, it was the best writing class ever. EVER.

paul said...

Well said Liz. Before his class, I was not really focused on writing, but after it, I became much more interested. It was a great experience.

kathy a. said...

i'm insanely jealous! he was a lovely writer, and sounds like the kind of amazing teacher who challenges students to think in completely new ways. i love that he made fun of hemingway! and also that he insisted that students write what they know; such an elegant way to avoid the worst mistakes.

a psychologist friend used passages from angela's ashes in trainings, to help non-professionals viscerally understand the impact of poverty and trauma on young children.

Songbird said...

What a loss for the world, and especially for his students.

Eva said...

Oh wow, you knew him!