My favorite building in the city is the Ushkova House.
It was incredible luck, just a delightful combination of circumstances, that there, in the cavern of the National Library, I held my first writing course, called So It Was. How did that happen?
Government agencies need to constantly come up with ways to make money (I'm not sure, but it seems their primary plan is to make money); at the same time, it's important, of course, that the methods of making money coincide with the goals of their main activities: like, you wouldn't rent out the library for banquets.
Nargiza Valiakhmetova invited me to come up with a long thematic story related to literature so that it would fit the ideology of the library, cover the lease, and motivate the work of the participants with the foundation.
After the release of my first book, I was often called and asked to talk about how I could write about my life so honestly and sincerely. I said that there was an audience of people who liked it and it could be helpful. We decided that I would compose and conduct a short writing course on how to write about your life. I called it So It Was.
First, we picked twenty-seven books from library's literature, then selected fourteen of those which I used as the basis for a two-month program. I made a curriculum of eight lessons, a workshop, and collective and individual assignments.
I calculated the costs, posted an announcement, and the library shared it. Sixty-four applications came to participate in the course. The cavern comfortably (in order to accommodate a table with a laptop and books) accommodates twelve people. I selected ten applications and invited two interns, and we started.
Under the contract, I rented a room from the library in the evenings on weekdays and in the afternoon on weekends, and we met and studied. The first (golden era) composition of So It Was was made up of people I had never met before who are now my colleagues; we're friends, see each other, sometimes eat together or go to concerts, share our life events with each other. One graduate of the course is already publishing their second book.
At the end of the course, I invited guests: editors from different publishing houses, such as Mif and Eksmo/Bombora from Moscow and Yulbasma and Trehrechye from Kazan). The participants defended their ideas for future books, asked them about the rules for writing a synopsis, and so on.
It was all very cool, despite the fact that, that over a month, with all the expenses for renting the hall and bringing and accommodating guests, I didn't really earn anything. Eight thousand rubles was left over from eighty thousand.
Because there were many applications from different cities, I ran the next one online. This is my job now. There are already fifteen hundred graduates of So It Was, and I have taught it nine times. I ended up a teacher in the end, anyway.