Welcome. My name is Corbett Harrison, and I have been an educator and a teacher-trainer since 1991. I specialize in teaching writing using differentiated instruction. I also focus on critical thinking techniques, especially during the pre-writing and revision steps of the writing process.

I serve Northern Nevada for nine months of the year (August-May), and during summers and during our two-weeek breaks during the school year, I hire myself out to school districts and professional organizations around the country.

Summer of 2014 is all booked. If you would like to check my availability for the summer of 2015, please contact me at my e-mail address.

 

Always
Write

 
       Because writing--when taught right--can be the most enjoyable part of your teaching day, I created this website.

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I come from a family of writers. They encouraged me to write too.

None of the Harrisons who came before me ever expected to write a best seller, but I am nonetheless from a family that has always enjoyed the act of writing. Members of my clan understand that self-publishing is an important way to let your friends relatives know that you're alive, to remind us that we are fellow human beings who think and feel and remember, not simply folks who send an annual Christmas card. I have my family's poems, short stories, and journals stored safely in my house; while photo albums may serve as excellent memory holders, I must tell you of the envy I see in my adult students' eyes when I display something written by a family member who is no longer with us. They wish their relatives had written like mine did.


In all my trainings, I encourage what I believe to be the most authentic type of writing assignment: writing something to give away as a gift. "Forget store-bought holiday and birthday gifts," I say. "Write a short memory or a poem about someone and send it to them this year." Some take me up on the challenge; others don't.

On this page, I celebrate the writing I have received (and continue to cherish) from my family.


Meet my amazing grandmother: Irma Harrison

Grandma was the first writer I actually knew. In the 1970's she self-published a small collection of poetry--And So I Wrote--and gave us each a copy for Christmas. At the time, I was not even ten years old, and it didn't seem like much of a gift. But I bring that little book out each year, and I weigh it against every Christmas gift I have ever received since. So far, nothing even comes close! Thanks for such wisdom, Grandma.

Irma passed away on March 17, 2007, after achieving 93 amazing years of love and life. After a life of writing poetry, stories, and newspaper columns, she felt qualified to write her own obituary, which you can read by clicking here.

At her memorial service, we were surprised to learn that she had written a speech to be read to us while we sat in the church she had worshipped in for so many years. I include that speech here as a tribute to her legacy and her wisdom.

Click here to read a poem I wrote to honor my grandmother after her passing away in March 2007.

Below find four original poems written by my grandmother:

What is a Poem?
by Irma Harrison (1975)

A poem is to play with words
And somehow make them rhyme.
T
his I believed in my youthful days,
But that idea changed with time.

 I then began to realize
            the greatest value
            of poetry
                        is to preserve
                        a profound
            or beautiful thought
            in a fashion
                        that reaches up
                        and plays
the fiddle strings of the soul. 

 

 

Heritage
by Irma Harrison (1975)

    Today
    I must do these things
    and hang them upon suspended time
    which feeds itself
    into a machine that will

            consider
                                sort
        punch
                                       glean
discard
    and then emerge,
    a tiny particle of truth
    for eternity.


 

The Someday Me
by Irma Harrison (1973)

One night out there after eons of time
A heavenly body you'll see;
Gorgeous in its radiant glow,
And that Star will be me.


On Being a Grandmother
by Irma Harrison (1977)

Nine out of ten adults
    should never
        be allowed to be
            parents.

But every woman
    in the world
        should be a
            grandmother.


Meet my stoic father: Charles "Chuck" Harrison

Even though he was hard to get to know, my father was a good man. A few years before he died of cancer, he was inspired to write down some of his stories. I found them on his computer while we waited for his passing in 2005, and I took them with me. Every one. Even the not-so-good ones.

He once asked me, since I was a writing teacher, for "an honest critique" of a story he was working on for a correspondence writing class. The story he had me read was loosely based on something that had happened to him when he was in the Air Force in Morocco. It involved a prostitute, and he'd fictionalized the ending to make it more "Pretty Woman" than real-life Morocco. I told him his ending seemed a bit contrived, and I could see I hurt his feelings a bit. I should have lied, I guess.

The stories my father wrote about his connections to his family were the most heartfelt stories he put to paper. He also wrote about his wild experiences with his friends from youth and about his poker buddies, but his best work came from the stories where he revealed an emotional family connection that few of us ever heard from his mouth. I share two of those stories below:


Yes, AbiEcho, there is an Easter Bunny…
by Chuck Harrison

 …and coming to your Grandpa Chuck for the answer to that question was definitely a step in the right direction. I’m an acknowledged expert on that subject.

Now I’m not going to hood-wink you by telling you that there is this large rabbit that scurries about on Easter morning hiding multi-colored eggs to the delight of wide-eyed youngsters worldwide. Those duties are delegated to moms and pops and social workers at the local playgrounds and parks. No, the Easter Bunny is really explained by the story I’m about to tell you. Real life. This happened when your grandpa was a youngster of about five years old.

As you know, your Great Uncle Buck is a little more than two years older than your Grandpa Chuck, and as a kid, that caused some problems for me. Hey, he was bigger than me, faster than me, stronger than me, and like most younger siblings in a family, I knew Mom and Pop liked him best.

It was Easter, 1944... (Click here to read the entire story.)

My Friend Bro
by Chuck Harrison

I am not a cat person. Oh, I can put up with the beasts, but I think my “problem” is that I’m an “in charge” person....and so are cats. There can only be one “in charge”, and, as everyone knows, nobody, or thing, is more in charge than a cat.

I first met Bro about ten years ago. He belonged to my lady-friend, Lew. She had another cat, a female, named Hooker. At that time Bro was ten years old. Hooker was four years his junior.

Hooker was a character. Mischievous. Bounding here and there at times, looking to create “something happening”. Twinkle in her eye. Oftentimes a smile on her face. Took pride in her appearance. All in all, your typical pampered housecat.

Bro was an “observer” cat. Never got involved in things very much but always knew what was going on. He observed. He took notes. Never did smile much. About 60% of the time he looked pretty “gruffy”. He just pretty much laid around, got teased by Hooker, and observed.

(Click here to read the entire story.)


Click here to read a story I wrote after my father had passed away to honor his occasional smiles. It's still a work in progress! Be kind!

These are some photos from the life of my father. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version of each picture.