Karen Shepard worked with WITS as a writer and a staff member between 1989 and 1993. She is now living in Massachusetts with her husband, three children, a beagle, and a parakeet. She teaches creative writing at Williams College half of the year and writes the other half.
Karen recalls numerous instances in which the magic of WITS came alive to inspire her and the students she taught. “I remember so many things. In particular: the boy who came to the Menil to write. His teacher was shocked at how much he was writing, how into it he was. When she asked why he didn’t write like that at school, he said, ‘At school, you don’t let us lie on the floor.’ I remember the Young Writers Reading Series as a few of the best nights out of my whole time in Houston. I still have photos from the readings on my shelves at home.”
Karen believes that teaching with WITS changed and continues to change her writing, teaching, and parenting. “I think about the possibilities and pitfalls of all of those endeavors. I think, and try to practice, the mix of rigor and optimism that is at the heart of WITS. We demanded better of our students and ourselves because we believed we were capable of better.”