There's no particular reason for this apathy towards doing something constructive. It is just one of those situations that is. So whatever funk I was in--I've officially exercised it.
I just wrote a story, that I'll present to you. I enjoyed writing it. While I don't think it's the best story I've ever written--it was the most writing I've done in over a month. Perhaps it will get me back on my quest to write my two unfinished novels:
Inspiration by Education
March 8th, 2007
Too much too soon thought Eric. He twirled his finger around in that way that signaled for his students to wrap it up. Teaching this creative writing class was a bit more difficult than he’d anticipated it to be.
“Lets hope you brought out your A game this time. The first assignment was more than uninspiring, especially from a group of would be writers.” He thought most of them needed such a nasty reminder to show them that what had been cherished as tremendous in their prep schools and honors classes was merely rubbish at the undergraduate level.
The blue books were handed to him. Few of his students managed to show him eye contact, although he was trying his best to give them an encouraging smile. Perhaps part of the problem was on his end. He was this twenty-five year old guy—that looked younger than some of his students. He laughed and joked with them the first few classes. He shared some insights: “Challenge yourselves as writer—most of you have written from experience—but how much experience do you have at your age? If you need to mimic a writer’s style that you love until you develop a voice—a style of your own then do it. That doesn’t mean that I expect for you to rip off Hemingway or Joyce. Great writers are great because they take chances. If there is one bit of wisdom that I can impart to you—that would be it. Take risks; don’t be afraid to be slammed by your peers. At the very least I promise you that those risk takers will leave this class with more of an idea where their future stands than those of you that will be safe writers—despite my advice.”
That was all his first class entailed, that and a syllabus that seemed to excite most of the students. Perhaps they thought this would be an easy A. In his mind it was. Those who took the true risks would be rewarded. The students that lent themselves to criticism, perhaps even ridicule would be the ones that showed themselves worthy of being published.
Who was he to put so much pressure on them—you might think. He’s Eric Peters, basically nobody. However, his pseudonym Jason Thames had penned two New York Times bestselling thrillers. He was a black man, average looking, average height, and average weight. He had a nice smile and a type of roughness to his personality that he could turn on when people underestimated his normally reserved personality.
He wasn’t a nobody. He was a teacher. His job was to get these students to reach, to step out of their comfort zones. He could tell that some of them had the ability.
He held up his hand to stop anyone from exiting the room. “How do you think you all did?”
Again there was a lack of eye contact. He picked up the stack of blue books.
“Okay how about we make a deal. There are club hours following this class. I’m wiling to rip up these papers. We can start all over again. That way those of you that handed in drivel—will have had the opportunity to flush out your ideas.”
He looked around and saw all of the nodding heads.
“Okay I need you all to sit back into your seats.”
He knew that he’d shocked them all. “I’m going to rip up these books…how many of you know that to be a great writer that you have to be wiling to start all over again…to literally pick up the pieces?”
A hells yeah erupted from the back of the classroom.
“Better yet come up here and take your books.”
They came up one by one—thinking he had absolutely lost his mind. Most of them couldn’t imagine what was coming next.
“Rip them up—rip them into tiny pieces…and when you think about the two hours that you spent writing—I want you to be angry—or those of you that know that you didn’t do your best you should feel relieved…whatever the emotion or emotions that you’re feeling—use it! Reach down deep and pull out something that will prove to me you belong in this class—that you’re worthy of being published.”
He left the empty stacks of blue books on the desk and grabbed his jacket. “Bring the stories over to my office in the next two hours…if not you can keep them…don’t forget to clean up after yourselves either.”
He pumped his fist, then waved goodbye, before leaving his shell-shocked students to finish their second assignment. Today he felt like a teacher. He hoped he’d created writers and that the tree gods wouldn’t be too angry about the utter disrespect for their fallen disciples.