ESCAPING OUR ELECTRONICS
“Escaping our electronics” is a secondary benefit of the whole BOLLI experience. In our BOLLI courses, we seem to be reviving the art of conversation among many of us who became dependent on electronic devices during our career. How wonderful that we discuss such an amazing variety of issues–global, political, emotional, and personal. From my standpoint as a relative BOLLI newcomer, I believe that we are actually raising the art of conversation to a higher level!
My first BOLLI class was The New Yorker Non-Fiction seminar in which a dynamic group discussed issues ranging from (of course) the election to medical ethics. I found the first couple of classes to be a little intimidating, as I hadn’t participated in such a group for a long time. But I loved the chosen readings and eventually spoke up–and I found that my voice was heard. It didn’t matter where I had gone to college or even what my career had been. I also felt quickly embraced by the BOLLI community and began to get to know some of my classmates.
Classmate Diane Winkleman, for example, retired last December and wanted to try BOLLI as soon as she saw the ad in the paper. “I was very excited to find a place that offers so much potential for interesting discussions, people, and new experiences.” She especially likes the lunch time series and the variety in the classes. Recently, she’s joined the CAST special interest group and is re-energizing her acting skills.
Suzanne Art’s Three Giants of the Northern Renaissance, an art history course, was Sue Wurster’s first BOLLI class in the Spring of 2015. At the same time, she dived into 20th Century Women Poets, a five-week science fiction course, and even a five-week course in fiction writing. “I really want to be a writer when I grow up,” she says. “I’ve been writing my whole life–but I had never actually finished anything. So this was a big step for me.” As for fellow BOLLI students, she says: “These are some awesomely smart characters!”
Longtime member Sandy Harris Traiger, a Brandeis alum, feels that BOLLI has changed her perspective on the world and nurtured her acceptance of different opinions and attitudes. She has been part of BOLLI since 2004 when she took a class taught by Sophie Freud about violence in World War II through literature. Sandy’s husband joined the following year and, during one class, was reunited with some old friends from elementary school. Sandy joined the International Friends group and enjoyed getting to know students from the Heller School. She is very glad that the lunch programs have expanded to include such a diverse collection of timely speakers and issues, “I’m still here and still loving it.”
My first year at BOLLI has been fabulous! I have taken short stories classes, a fascinating literature course with Sophie Freud about adult daughters and their aging mothers, and an exciting memoir writing course with Marjorie Roemer. I especially appreciated Sophie’s insightful analytical approach to literature as well as Marjorie’s writing.
BOLLI has given me the chance to turn off my devices and let me discover and hear my own voice.