I’d love to be anywhere, but here. I’d love to be in bed with a book. I’d love to be in bed with Netflix. I’d love to be in bed with my special someone. Instead, I am here at my desk tapping out these words while the wind howls and the branches scratch my window. It’s only day 6 of NaBloPoMo, and I’m craving other pleasures. My inner critic has stirred, and she’s asking questions. Why are you doing this challenge? Where’s your voice? Wouldn’t you rather be doing something else? She’s not easy to shake, she’s clingy and persistent. What answers will satisfy her?
After a long hot shower, I still don’t have the answers for her. I still can’t muffle her voice; it’s a conspiracy with Writer’s Block. So, I’m giving myself ten minutes to tap on the keyboard, and whatever comes out will stick here. So, if you decide to read on, I’ll thank you in advance, and if you decide to switch off right now, I won’t hold it against you.
My grade 12 English teacher, Mr. T, was pretty cool. For the first ten minutes of each class, he’d let us do guided free-writing. He’d put on some music, and join us in our experimental writing, and he never asked to see our work. It was guided because he’d give us some kind of prompt…..sometimes it was smelling a plant or looking at an old picture in the hallway. Whatever sprung to mind as a result would be what we would write about. I still remember that plant — it smelt like my great grandpa’s pipe, and that made me think of white peppermints. He’d always had a bowl of those around his house, and my grandma (his daughter) still keeps them in her purse. Anyhow, just tonight, I was trying to look for some of those old writings from Mr. T’s class. I couldn’t find them. In his class, I started to find my voice; I started to dig deeper and express myself on paper. He inspired me.
My grade 8 teacher inspired me, too. He was a chalk-thrower with white curly hair and a razor sharp tongue. I was lucky. He wanted a daughter like me, or at least that was what he told the class. He liked my writing, and I was never grazed by his flying chalk. I still remember his common sense…..but at the time, I thought it was wisdom. Write about what you know. Funny, I can’t really remember what I wrote in his class. By that age, I’m sure I knew enough. I do remember being an outsider that was involved. I was in the band, and on the soccer team…and the field hockey team. I wasn’t one of the cool kids. I didn’t want to be one of them, but I did feel lonely at times. (this is harder than I thought….this tapping away without critiquing.) I just want to stop. I know if Mr. M heard this he would chuck some chalk at me, so I will write on.
I’m grateful to these English teachers; they were polar opposites, but there was no BS about them. If your writing was good, they would let if be known. If it was rubbish, they would also let it be known. They didn’t sugarcoat anything. We need less sugar-coaters in this world.
There you have it — ten minutes of free writing! I still would rather be anywhere, but here. NaBloPoMo day 6 is done, and now I will give myself permission to jump into bed with a book.