Day one of college left a lot to the imagination. Day two, was squashing any lingering notions that these classes might make a turn for the better. Then I walked into my final class for the day, Creative Writing. I’m greeted by a desk full of books, a large sheet of drawing paper, and a small pirate figurine.
The teacher stumbles in. He’s obviously the man in charge. A crop of stringy grey hair sits atop his head and his button up shirt is sloppily tucked into his slacks. He takes a seat in the circle and wants us to draw a mask. Just a mask. Something we want to aspire to or see ourselves as. That’s when I note the Radio Flyer red wagon, missing a wheel, full of crayons in tow, sitting in the middle of our circle.
I grab some crayons and am hit with panic as I’m not sure what to draw. The last thing I want is to look uncreative in my creative writing class. Before the class started I spent time in the courtyard reading through Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels and was ecstatic to have an idea. I doodled a quick, horrendous caricature of the Man, cigarette holder perched out of his lips, aviators on nose, and cabana shirt on shoulders. My mismatched colored crayons didn’t do the sketch much justice. But when my time came to place my mask in front of my face and introduce myself, I got a nice laugh from the class.
As the other members of the class took part in this soul soothing ice breaker, I was smiling ear to ear. I was enjoying myself more in the first ten minutes of this class than I had all day. It reminded me of all of the great English teachers I’d had through high school. I was also reminded of how they were rescuers from the mundane. Stepping into their classes was a break from the tedious school day. And I will forever be appreciative of those men and women. They are heroes for a specific batch of kids who need a different set of rules.
When our teacher spoke he had this whiny, crackling voice that seemed to break and unhinge in parts of his sentences. He regularly ran his hands through his hair and squeezed his palms to his eyeballs when trying to find the right wording. You could tell he was the kind of kid that might’ve gotten picked on decades earlier. But here now, he was the coolest guy in the room. He was somebody to be respected and looked up to. Even if those feelings might make him feel uncomfortable.
He set quite the atmosphere. We are free to be anything and to be as creative as we want. There’s a letter of disapproval from a student about his class posted at the beginning of a booklet of papers on our desk and he mentions outright that he wants everyone to know nothing is taboo in this class. Whatever gets our creative juices flowing is allowed and there will be no judgment. This seems almost pornographic for a class to have such laws…and I love it.
Midway through the class he relocates us to the faculty building which is a free standing stone hut in the middle of the courtyard. He frequently reminds us that we’re in there illegally but he enjoys the intimate setting and finds it a good place for the latter part of class.
This teacher will go on to save this semester for me. I’m not good at doing anything out of necessity or that takes away from things I’d rather be doing. Work and school have always been battlegrounds. Having this class once a week to anchor my mind will easily be the deciding factor in carrying on through the semester and ones after it. I feel, for the first time in years, blown away by my instructor. I am ready to explore my mind and have it leak onto the page for his assignments.
This entry doesn’t even due the class justice. I can never get to my writing when I am inspired. I am often left sitting at the computer at a convenient time trying to rekindle the fire that was previously burning through me. Nevertheless, this one is for the English teachers that have always kept me writing.