Back in high school I was fortunate enough to be able to choose my own English classes in Junior and Senior year. Freshman and Sophomore years I took the standard definition of English – read books, write papers, learn vocabulary and the like – but in Junior year I was able to break free of that by selecting Journalism and in Senior year I satisfied my necessary requirement by taking Creative Writing. It’s safe to say those were the best moves I ever made in school because both classes helped to shape the Writer I am today.
In Creative Writing we were frequently given “pop quizzes” as I liked to call them. Our teacher, Lucile Burt, called them ten minute writings. She’d establish four or five topics per class and for ten minutes we had to write the first thing that came to mind on each subject or theme. I still make use of this technique sometimes when I’m struggling to come up with a good topic.
On September 9, 1990, right at the beginning of the school year, Lucile assigned one of these days. There were four topics that day – Blue Shirt, Two People in a Canoe, A Green Apple and a Promise, and Leftovers.
Brilliant subjects right? I mean out of thirty people in class she easily encouraged 120 different types of stories since each of those things would bring out something completely different in each of us.
I don’t remember the class or the specifics of what we were required to do with each subject but I’m guessing, due to the random symbols located throughout the original pieces, that we were supposed to select our favorite lines and favorite piece written during the class.
The one I starred was Blue Shirt.
When I went back and read this short piece today I started laughing in a fairly ironic way. Apparently I’ve always been a crazy person trapped within my own head because even at seventeen years old I had a penchant for rambling interior monologue. Perhaps this is the very thing I should be focused on writing. Or maybe I just like that this style allows for as many adverbs as possible.
Anyway, without further rambling, and in its original state (one long paragraph) word-for-word (including insertion of symbols, excluding names), I present you with my ten minute writing. Bear in mind this was 1990 and I didn’t have the benefit of a computer so I’m transcribing this from my hand written journal and it’s likely to be much shorter than if I’d been able to type.
I’m supposed to be concentrating on my breathing but all I can think of is the topic “Blue Shirt”. --> When I take a breath in I see all my ideas and imagination getting tossed and jostled around. When I exhale my mind relaxes and my thoughts come together again. But just when I think they are going to be put into a perspective where I can write or think about one of them, I inhale again and all of the ideas are tossed around once more. When I exhale again there is a certain calmness about my mind, like I have no worries or thoughts at all and all of my problems have a solution. But when I take my next breath I feel like a human being again. [Friend’s name] has a blue shirt on today which makes me wonder if she’s writing about herself. I have on a white shirt yet I’m still writing about myself in this entry. It makes no sense why I’m not writing about a blue shirt when that is the topic of this whole thing. Lots of people wear blue shirts. Why was that the topic? I have to wonder if I’d have written about myself or something totally different if the topic had been white shirt. --> But it wasn’t. So I didn’t. And now I’m curious as to what our next topic will be.
Posted for April 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge E is for Early