“Write something!” he’d say as the bell rang. “Anything you want, just write.” Tall, a bit round-shouldered, obligatory elbow patches on his corduroy jacket and long graying hair defying the teacher grooming code in the 60’s, his Irish accent was lovely.
Some began immediately, heads bowed very seriously. I mostly sat musing, confused, never sure what topic would gain approval.
One day I’d had it. My anger at his repetitive command exploded. I hated that cheeky look in his eye as he puddled round the room, as though he was really having one over on us.
“Write something!” I scribbled. “That’s all he ever says! Well, just exactly what are we supposed to write about? Every day it’s the same. Write about what? The price of tea in China? The latest Beatles song?” On and on I poured out my frustrations.
I handed it in, feeling cocky and defiant. But in the end, he was the one who got me.
Next issue of the school newspaper, there was my masterpiece, published for all myworld to see. People liked it. It made them laugh. I felt good.
And eventually I understood the real lesson he was teaching, that creativity comes from your feelings.
We never spoke about it. And that’s OK. Teachers of all kinds come into your life when you’re ready for the lesson, they make an impression, and move on. You are touched, maybe inspired in some way, and it is enough. It is everything.