Issue #63, How We Teach

Spring 2017

Our spring issue, Creative Nonfiction #63: “How We Teach,” reaches far beyond the traditional classroom. Contributors travel to the kitchen, to rehab centers, to the dentist’s office, and as far as Saudi Arabia in these stories about making a meaningful impact.

Plus, immersion artist Ted Conover on the importance of talking with people on the other side of the political divide; Sheryl St. Germain’s argument for broadening the scope of the creative writing MFA; teaching writing in twenty minutes a day; tiny truths; and more.


  • What's the Story? by Lee Gutkind
    From the Editor
  • Diving Deep
    Serial immersionist Ted Conover shares lessons from more than thirty years of participatory journalism
  • The Ink that Binds by Sheryl St. Germain
    Could requiring community service help creative writing MFA programs become less elitist?
  • Making Writing "HIP" by Matthew Mercier
    At one New York City school, High Intensity Practice writing keeps young writers engaged

Table of Contents

From the Editor Lee Gutkind ... read more
The Ink that Binds: Creative Writing & Addiction Sheryl St. Germain ... read more
Diving Deep: An Interview With Ted Conover Joanne B. Mulcahy ... read more
The Month That I Taught English, We Had Prisoners Running Through Our Backyards Margaret Downey
Debriefing Meredith Crandell
Everything Connected, Everything Broken Rachel Toliver
Dentistry's Problem Child Nikki Schulak
I've Taught Monsters Jessica Lahey
Piano Lessons Ellen Michaelson
Highly Gifted/Highly-At-Risk Cecilia Woloch
Just Write Matthew Mercier ... read more
Concatenate Deb Werrlein


Meredith Crandell

Dr. Meredith Crandell majored in English literature and creative writing at Harvard College before becoming a Harvard-trained pediatric... read more

Margaret Downey

Margaret Downey is a trained secondary English teacher who has spent the past few years living in an area of New York that is so rurally... read more

Jessica Lahey

Jessica Lahey is a teacher and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So... read more

David MacWilliams

David MacWilliams teaches writing and linguistics at Adams State University in Colorado. His essays have appeared in Pilgrimage, Mason’s... read more

Matthew Mercier

Matthew Mercier is a writer, teacher, and storyteller, living in New York. His work has been published in Glimmer Train, Rosebud, and the... read more

Ellen Michaelson

Ellen Michaelson is a physician in Portland, Oregon, and an MFA graduate from Pacific University. Her work has appeared in Portland Monthly... read more

Joanne B. Mulcahy

Joanne B. Mulcahy teaches creative nonfiction at Lewis and Clark College and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Her... read more

Nikki Schulak

Nikki Schulak writes and performs comedy about bodies and relationships in Portland, OR. She has a Master’s degree from the Bank... read more

Sheryl St. Germain

Sheryl St. Germain has published six poetry books and two collections of essays, and coedited two anthologies. The Small Door of Your Death... read more

Rachel Toliver

Rachel Toliver has work published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, West Branch, TriQuarterly, Puerto Del Sol,... read more

Deb Werrlein

Deb Werrlein is a former adjunct English professor, who now works as a freelance writer/editor and volunteer literacy tutor. Her writing... read more

Cecilia Woloch

Cecilia Woloch has published six collections of poems and a novel, Sur la Route. Recent honors include a fellowship from the National... read more


Tony Roberts

May 20, 2017

I was very moved by Meredith Crandell's "Debriefing." As a parent of two children on the autism spectrum, I appreciate Ms. Crandell's passion for making the world a better place in which her son might live. Ben is a special child not so much because of any diagnosis, but because he is much beloved by his mother. Would that we could all be so special!