An Introduction to Creative Writing
Welcome, everyone. I’m glad you chose this class. Your first assignment is to pull up language by its roots and carefully burn each meaning. Papers are due at the end of the period. Any questions? Ah. I see some of you are smiling. Perhaps you think the assignment is childish. In that case, I’ll ask you to examine these four walls, then tell
me — are we inside, or outside? Do the walls enclose us, or do they exclude us from everything else? Now, look at language and ask yourself the same question. Are you a prisoner of assumed meaning, or are you free? How will you live your life, much less begin to write creatively about it, until you know the answer, or want to know it so badly that you are willing to die trying to find out? To put it another way, do you see the world with someone else’s eyes, or your own? Do you explore it with a stranger’s senses, or your own? Finally, will you view the cosmos through a canonical telescope, or greet it with your heart and mind and feel it passing through your fingertips? Yes? Question?
Yeah. How will we be graded?
You won’t be. But you’re free to grade yourself if it makes you feel better.
Is this the first time you’ve given this assignment?
I don’t know. To be quite honest with you, I can’t remember. I’m not even sure I’m here. But I do hear voices, and they tell me things. Maybe it was their idea. Why? Does it matter?
A brief silence, then the shuffling of papers. A strategic cough. Whispers.
Wow. This guy’s nuts.
No kidding. Besides, language is language. If you’ve got something to say, then say it. Why re-invent the wheel?
Oh, I don’t know. I kind of like what he said. What’s the use of saying something if it’s already been said before?
He can’t fool me. Everything’s been said before. Remember Ecclesiastes? There is no new thing under the sun.
Was that Ecclesiastes, or The Sun Also Rises?
“That Evening Sun Go Down.”
No, not you. I mean Faulkner.
You guys are crazy. What he’s saying is, we’re supposed to write a paper about what we think language means.
What do you mean, what it means? It means whatever it’s supposed to mean.
But language has been here a lot longer than we have. It’s constantly evolving.
Listen to him. Constantly evolving — where’d you get that?
I don’t know. But it’s true. Isn’t it?
Personally, I have no idea what he wants us to do. When I signed up, I thought this was a creative writing class. But he’s turning it into something else.
He seems like a nice enough guy, though. A little weird, maybe.
Full of LSD is more like it. Maybe we should ask him if he was at Woodstock.
Maybe he won’t answer. Maybe the voices in his head will answer for him.
Hey — now what’s he doing?
The sound of an axe repeatedly striking a wooden desk.
Holy — I’m getting out of here!
The room begins to shake. The building collapses. Sirens. Stretchers. Bulldozers push aside the rubble. Cave men armed with digital cameras solemnly record the scene. Naked women on horseback triumphantly give birth to an enlightened era. A short time later, students enrolled in the next class file in and begin to take their seats.
Hey, dude. I hear this guy’s a kick. Should be an easy A.
April 22, 2005
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