I would like to thank you for the many classes I have taken in your nonfiction fields. I have grown so much as a writer through these experiences. Recently, I took your online course Essay and Opinion I, taught by Jonathan Mandell. This was hands-down the most amazing Gotham class. Please extend my best wishes to Jonathan for making that class such a wonderful learning experience.
In that class, I wrote a short (1,880 word) essay, called “Keeping the Pace,” that was ultimately published in the June 18th edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The essay started at 3 am on a sleepless night, when I decided to get out of bed and get down to business on a homework assignment for Jonathan’s class. He had been working me hard, and he was really challenging me on a certain writing task in this piece. Well, it sure worked, and “Keeping the Pace” was born.
JAMA is one of the most widely read medical journals in the world. I have received hundreds of emails from physicians and patients all over the world thanking me for that piece, and urging me to expand the essay into a book about my experiences as a doctor and pacemaker patient. I am hard at work on this memoir now, and I will be pursuing it further in your Memoir II Book class with Elizabeth Cohen. I have taken a class with her before, which was also outstanding.
I am a Harvard-trained pediatric cardiologist who, for medical, personal, and intellectual reasons, left clinical practice to pursue writing and parenting full-time.
My discovery of Gotham came from a breakfast table conversation between my visiting mother and me, when she said, “Have you ever heard of this writing program, Gotham? It’s in New York.” My immediate response was “I live in Boston, I cannot travel to New York!” I almost did not follow up on her idea, but I sure am glad I did. Gotham has fundamentally changed my writing life, for the better.
Thank you. I will likely be sticking around for many classes to come!
Elizabeth B. Fortescue, M.D., M.P.H.