23, insecure and eager, sitting in a mid-to-back desk, among my fellow nobody collective in the walled-in confines–I awaited the impending demands of my new Non-Fiction/Journalism professor. From the moment he opened his mouth, I found myself in awe of his deep-thunderous baritone voice, not unlike South Park’s Chef. “Raise your hand if you are a writer,“ words crisp, hanging in the air like thick willowy branches rooting into every corner of the classroom–eliminating any chance of escape. None of us–regardless of specialization: creative writing, journalism, or analytical writing–dare to raise a finger or even dare to fucking look him in the eyes. Hell, I was trying to drill a hole through my desk with my laser, don’t look at me, eyes.
With his loud booming, ‘Ye shall I walk through the valley of death,’ voice, my psyche loathe a verbal castration for my gross incompetence.
Our class was silent enough to hear a fly shit, but that wasn’t going to happen because no one–absolutely NO ONE–wanted to drag attention to himself. “Are you a writer,” the silence was butter as he cut it right in half, doubling the intense deafening roar. Unaware of my own actions, I found my eyes looking at his (much to my own chagrin). His eyes were all Eye of Sauron roving the room–That staring! That Perpetual Staring!
Words rolled through the classroom again as he said the most inconceivable notion, “You are all writers!”
If he wanted to see if we would shit ourselves in the middle of the class, he was on the right path. He was damned well going to get a payload for his hard work. Was this a sick haze to ease us into complacency and then the next moment was he planning to rip into us like sweet caviar? Confusion, happiness, fear, questions about how many steps to the door: all these thoughts rushing through my mind…
“You all write things, and you all care about the content, or else you wouldn’t be here. You are all writers and until you accept that and claim that ownership of your identity, you will never be the best writer that you can be.”
Trembling subsiding slowly, I felt unimaginable happiness as the endorphins kicked in. We went from a horror film to silent film back to horror film to the Rocky Horror Picture party scene as Meatloaf walks in.
This memory plays so vividly to me, today, as I try once again to become a ‘writer.’