How It Progressed

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In the first grade I had an assignment to write three sentences about the stairs in my home. Pretty cut and dry, right? Well . . . not for me. Because the stairs weren’t just stairs. And they weren’t made of just boring old wood, either. They were made of golden fish scales. If you stepped on the third stair, a secret slot opened. And in that slot, there was a key . . .

Of course a story this grand needed illustrations. But not just pencil drawings, oh no. Color. This required lots and lots of color. Happiness spread over me, like the taste of the perfect pb&j. This feeling was euphoric, even much better than when I got to tie the pretend cardboard shoes! The world faded away, like I had my own rectangular eraser.

Until Mrs. Winowitch happened by.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Although the name Winowitch sounds about as welcoming as rickets on a pirate ship in June, this was a teacher who was exemplary. I always think of her with the greatest fondness and know without a doubt that she cared a great deal for me.

However, the way she looked down her nose at me that day is forever brandished in my mind. Surprise crossed her features as she stood beside my desk. And then a look that bordered on constipation. I was being very naughty. Very naughty, indeed. She promptly snatched my paper away and held it in front of the class as an example of what not to do.

I’ve often thought about this incident, and what I would say to Mrs. Winowitch if I could. It might go a little something like this:

Dear Mrs. Winowitch,

I’m still very naughty. Very naughty, indeed. I’m afraid “the incident” all those years ago had the reverse affect. Allow me to confess—I tell lies for fun and profit. That’s right. I write fiction. And it’s so much fun. You see, when I’m bored I use this clever instrument called imagination. It’s so helpful at times. Like when I’m standing in the post office line and I imagine everyone’s hair spontaneously falling out. And how that would look, all those different colors on the floor. But the best part would be the cries of outrage. And when the guy who used to have the mullet slipped on the poodle-permed fro. Tee-hee . . . I digress.

This thing called imagination usually serves me well, except those times when I’m the only one laughing in the room. I do tend to have the oddest black-outs sometimes. The rectangular eraser comes back and suddenly I’m in England or Jerusalem or Abu Dhabi. Yes, people do grow weary with me. Especially when they’ve been talking to me for five minutes and I have no idea what they’ve said. But, hey! That’s just the hazards of the profession. Regardless, my sincerest thanks are due to you. You inadvertently set me on the writer’s path.

Kind regards,

What about you? What’s been your weirdest flash of imagination?


Annafofanna said...

Love it!! What a great talent you have girl. Okay, you said weirdest flash of imagination. Yours is very innocent compared to mine; here goes. It was in my high school English class for Science Fiction. It was supposed to be a tall tale. Perhaps it was the license I had to write something weird and naughty. The genre was science fiction, and in my mind I thought it humorous to write "The Teeth of the Saw".

Casper Blip was a magician and his wife was his assistant. She tells of one of her trips to the hospital because of an "accident" during the knife-throwing trick:

"Casper decided to use me as a target for knife throwing. He placed me on a huge wooden wheel and spun it around. Then he started throwing the knives. He didn't get very far, because the second knife struck home. It practically scalped me...I was in the hospital for two weeks that time."

She is leading up to " Casper was going to perform the illusion of sawing me in half. Why I ever went through with all those capers, I'll never know. I guess it was because he said if I ever left, he would hunt me down and try the guillotine trick on me."

I will not go through her description of what happened to her in "the teeth of the saw". For some reason, it does not strike me as funny now. :-)

But, maybe the end is still somewhat humorous"

"And now the end. I could faintly hear Casper laughing. Why was he laughing so hilariously? Had he planned it all along? My last mortal thoughts were, "Casper, you could at least have sharpened "The Teeth of the Saw".

When I remember this, I am more understanding of the sometimes weird sense of humor and imagination that some of our teenagers have.

The teacher gave me a grade of A- for content and A for mechanics, but she added a note: "More horror story than tall tale."

Evangeline Denmark said...

Well, you see, I have this Broadway fantasy...
My weird flashes of imagination usually involve me belting out a song Elphaba-style in the middle of the grocery store or a parent/teacher conference.
But I'm often hijacked by scenes in my novel that invade my every day life. I remember pulling into a parking space one day and all of a sudden I was seeing my hero and heroine's first kiss. Crazy!

conniejodonahue said...

I bet that teacher would be well pleased to know the way she influenced your life...write on. My imagination is waiting for the next adventure.

conniejodonahue said...

I dare not share my weirdest flash of imagination. That is between me, and, God....for now!!

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