A while back; maybe a couple of years I took a creative writing class, a simple 101. I failed it with flying colors. This is not to say I didn’t try, though looking back I’m pretty darn sure I gave it a decent effort. I wanted to spice up my scientific papers, a zest that isn’t found often in articles today.
It was one morning like most I was sitting in front of my typewriter proofreading a boring mess of scientific babble that I spent last six hours writing. It seemed to be void of any aspect of the author, who was me. I couldn’t find myself in my own paper. That scared me. I pulled the phonebook from under my bed and found the number for the local community college. Ordered a class schedule to be sent to my address, a few days passed by when it arrived in the mail. I circled the advanced writing techniques class and called the school to sign up. To my surprise, I did not have the perquisites for class. I explained to the woman over the phone, that I am more than qualified for such a class. She disagreed and my argument stammered and died seconds after. I signed up for the creative writing 101 class and bid her a wonderful day.
The first day of school was a fun one. I woke up on time, had some coffee, pocketed a pen and grabbed my moleskin journal. I felt like I was set, I get in my car to find a textbook on creative writing sitting on my front seat. Not recalling buying such, but to sleepy to care I tossed the book in the passenger seat and set off. I arrived at the school it wasn’t quite the campus they made it out to be in the class schedule I received. It was just a few rundown buildings in much need of repair and paint. I find my class and take a seat at the only free chair, there were no desks just chairs. It wasn’t looking great. A middle-aged woman walks in and takes a gaunt look at the class then continues to her desk at the front of the room. She clears her throat, the class still murmurs. She clears it once more, twice the volume as before and the class hashes. She introduced herself in a thick French accent. “Hello class, I am Ms. Grue, it is like glue but quite the same as grew.” As I think she said it all was the same to me. She writes her name on the whiteboard behind her in the handwriting I would learn to hate and continues. “This class is to teach you to write, not of a poet or linguistic master, but to write!” She slams the book on the desk and the girl next to me head snaps forward after being woken from her daydreams. She informs us to open our books, that is to say with the tone she used it was not a request. I open my book and find a small piece of paper on the first page that read “You know what to do. –K” I crumble it and stuff it into my pocket. The rest of the class went by in a breeze. After class, I found the dinky bookstore and bought another copy of the textbook. Returned home, scribbled a quick note placed it inside the book, used my device to go back to the night before and placed the book in the car. Return back and begin my homework. A short story she wanted, easy enough I thought.
I spent about an hour composing a simple story about a bird cage in love. I found the story hilarious, but I find most things funny. Call it an early night and head to bed. I spent the next day reading over my story finding it funnier and funnier each pass. How the bird cage was only looking for the perfect receptacle to call its own.
I went to class the next day, I turned in my story with a grin on my face. I felt proud of this work. Ms. Grue read over it in haste hands it back to me. Confused, I ask her if she found it as hilarious as I did. She squints at me for almost a lifetime then speaks “Hilarious? I can call your writing such.” I smile for a second and then the insult sets in. Smile gone, my pride vanished. I spend the rest of the class sulking in my chair.
I go home and begin working on my next masterpiece, though we did not have any homework to do. I wanted to prove her wrong, but draft after draft I wasn’t getting anywhere. I pepped talked myself, reminding me as much as I could that she had no sense of humor, she was just cold and empty. So I begin the story about Ms. Grue –
“As a child, she had a heart filled with joy, this was bought by her parents providing her with everything she ever wanted, a spoiled brat to some, a deviant child to others. She grew up encased in the ego supplied by her parents. As a young woman, she had boyfriends, not many but a good number. All of which had a sense of humor, though the jokes always slid off her cold exterior to die on the floor. The place where she felt everyone else belonged. She walked high and mighty stepping on many man’s hearts on her path to becoming an adult.
When she reached the age of 24, war broke loose, her parent’s wealth and parents were casualties of this war. Devastated by the loss of her parent’s funds she began to drink, more heavily than she used to, flushing out everything that made her human in the process. A dark shell of a woman was left after the years of abuse. Though it hasn’t been said much, even shells need to eat. With a savings account that was depleted, she began her search work, applying to many places beyond her qualifications. No call backs, not one.
After a drunken night, she awakes on the campus of local community college. Dazed and flustered she finds her other heel and makes her way to the main hall of the campus. She beckons the girl at the front desk to point her in the way of the bathroom, she needs to expunge last night festivities ever growing. While in the bathroom quietly dispensing the drinks from the night before in the toilet she overhears two faculty members discussing the opening for a creative writing teacher. Her knees soaked from the poor conditions of the restroom, stands and moves her head closer to the stall door to hear the woman better. “I’m sure Charles will just try to hire the first thing that will sleep with him.” the first woman says as the other woman chuckles and agrees. They leave the restroom. Ms. Grue sees her opportunity. She opens the stall door, heads to the sink and rinses her mouth and undoes a button or two. Satisfied she was looking her best, she returns to the girl at the front desk and requests the audience of Charles.
She sits on a worn leather-bound chair in front of a beaten desk. She plays with the objects on the desk, even after the door behind her opens and closes. Only when Charles is at his desk does she stand to greet him. This job was beneath her, as many things were these days, including Charles. A small tear falls onto his chest. The last bit of self-respect this woman had, contained in a small droplet splashed against an ugly man. He finishes and gives her the job and keys to her classroom. She leaves the office without saying a word.
Her first class starts. Creative Writing 101, she hated them for being there, for seeing her in this position. She gains her pride piece by piece, by belittling her student’s skills; only one student passes the class that year. The daughter of Charles- an easy sacrifice she’ll think.
Class to class, she devours the hopes and dreams of her students, returning herself to a previous stature of self-respect. For seven years she has been growing larger, with a belly full of pride from the last class.”
I stop there; utterly disturbed by what I wrote I leave the page in the typewriter and make my way to my favorite watering hole in hopes that enough drinks would wash the bad taste from my mouth.
A week passes; same belittling remarks are heard each day at class. None of which are directed towards me. I get an F on my next paper, the story of her sits on my desk at home and heavy in my head. I begin to feel sorry for her, which is until the day she had me write a single word to describe myself on the whiteboard in front of the class. I stand and push the marker against the board, it squeaks several times as I write “splendid” on the board. The class is silent; I place the marker in the tray below and return to my chair. Ms. Grue gives a large cackle and erases the word I just wrote. “Dear, I think you meant…” She said as she writes something on the board hidden from my view, she finishes and moves to the side. “Dunce” is written in bright red marker. She laughs as the rest of the class remains in their comatose state. My blood boils for a second and cools. It is set, I will turn in my story, my last revenge than I shall quit this class.
I rush home to proofread the story to turn in for the next class. I find the fist note on of the draft. “Don’t do it.” It reads, I toss it aside and go over the story again and again. I sleep in the next day, Wanting to read the story once more I pick it up from my desk. Another note on top of it, again I toss it to the side, feeling even more excited about the outcome. I carry the story in my front pocket as I run my daily errands. I did not want it to disappear on me.
I wake early, rewrite a section and set off for school. I find a note on my car window “Really, don’t” It reads. I crumble it and throw it in the back seat as I enter the car. Another note pinned on the steering wheel reads the same. I drive to the broken down college and find my chair early. Class started like normal, Ms. Grue is late and demands our stories. I make sure I am the last in line. Everyone hands in their papers, with a different insult for each. I hand my paper to her with a smile. She tells me to wipe the shit grin off my face and sit down. I turn on my heels and walk out of the classroom. She hollers something but I couldn’t understand her. I walk back to my car and find another note on my steering wheel. “Feel Better?” It reads. I leave it there and return home.
I am quite stubborn. I felt encouraged with every note I found, so in such, I use my device to go back and place each note where I found them before.
Several months pass when I receive a letter in the mail. It was my story, with a C and a small note scribbled at the top “Hope to see you next year! Ms. Grue”