I’m currently taking a Creative Writing: Nonfiction class with my advisor. He’s one of my favorite professors/people. When you hand in a writing assignment to him, he really takes to the time to read your story and give you suggestions on what to fix and how to expand it. His suggestions and ideas are always thoughtful and inspirational. Case in point: Recently I handed in a first draft of an essay about my father. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to actually go with the piece I just knew that I wanted to write about and explore that relationship. Basically, it was 4 pages of memories of my father and was workshopped.
During the workshop, I heard I lot of what I expected: I need more description in my scenes and of my father and that people weren’t sure what the point of the essay was. Basically, I lacked conflict and plot. It was then that my professor said something that I never would have thought about.
My father is wonderful, for most of my life he worked 12 hour shifts in a factory to support our family. No matter what: he got up, went to work, and came back. He almost never missed a day of work and though that meant he missed a good amount of my life, he was there when he wasn’t working and that’s what really mattered. Although he was susceptible to fits of anger, he was always consistent and always there.
I wrote about this in my essay, and how I wanted to be like him and make him proud. It’s there that my professor found a source of conflict. Knowing about my anxiety and depression, he said that I probably could never do what my dad did. I could never work 12 hour shifts, every day. Normally hearing something like that would make me angry, I would have thought, “How dare you! Having anxiety doesn’t make you any less capable.” However, he wasn’t saying it to be mean or ignorant. He was simply telling the truth. Though I am consistent, my anxiety and depression prevent me from being as consistent as I could be. Working 12 hour shifts constantly would not be possible for me. I would be drained, physically and mentally, and wouldn’t be able to handle it.
I never would have thought about that though if it wasn’t for my professor. It puts my relationship with my dad in a whole new light and is definitely a source of internal conflict. I’m so lucky that I have a professor who gives that much attention to my writing. It’s like he’s able to get inside my head and I love it.
Who inspires you? Have you had a professor who has made an impact on how you think?
Until next time,