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Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

I was watching some news for a bit. I felt like being nauseous, and the news is usually the best way for me to accomplish that.

The last thing I looked at was the story of the disabled man being tied up and beaten in Chicago. One news reporter mentioned that if this case is “raised” to the level of a hate crime, the four attackers could face up to 30 years in prison. Most of you have probably seen the news report but here is a link to what happened.

Chicago beating

As I watched the video, and read the report, I wondered something about hate crimes. Is not “hate” the motivator behind all crimes? People love to jump on the “No Hate” band wagon for their favored group. But is one group any more important then another? Politicians fight and babble over gun control. We can take the gun out of someone’s hand, but until the hate is taken out of the man’s heart, there will be no change. If not a gun, then some other weapon.

So we as society have decided how much hate constitutes a hate crime. And what if I disagree with the measuring rod? Does that make me a hater? Am I as guilty as the attackers in the video if I don’t agree with someone?

You are by now thinking this post ridiculous. Maybe it is. Just seems to me that it is just fine for me to hate, as long as I hate the same things you do. Just don’t let my hate leave the boundaries set by society.

But wait…what if we lived in a world with no hate, no violence, no crime, etc. Oh wait, that would be called heaven. I’m not there yet, but watching the news often makes me wish I was.

 

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It must be about 12 years ago now that I decided to branch out my life, and I thought I would try that through writing. I enjoyed dabbling in many things but had never actually conquered something. I have tried piano, violin, guitar, sports and numerous hobbies. I always enjoyed my attempt at mastering something new, but I never made it beyond mediocre.

One thing I had not tried up to that point was writing. Of course like most people I had written things for various reasons in my life and most of those reasons were unpleasant. Things like school papers, resumes or work assignments to name a few. Writings that I was forced to do. But I wanted to try writing something just for the fun of it. Something that I could have a passion for and just needed to “express” myself. So I went to one of the local community colleges and enrolled in a creative writing class. I thought surely in a class called “Creative Writing” I would learn some grand plan from the masters, and be able to express myself in some wonderful new way.

The first day of class I arrived early (which is normal for me), and rolled my way through an empty classroom to the very last row. I chose a seat that was near a window and not surrounded my potential neighbors. As the clock clicked slowly to the hour mark, other students started to trickle into class. I of course was older than most students strolling through the door. I guessed most of my class peers ranged from 18 – 22 years of age. I tend to be an observant person and enjoyed watching where people chose to sit, what they were wearing and their choice in hair style and color. I remember a song from Sesame Street about “one of these things is not like the others,” and I was definitely the one not like the others. It is amazing how much of a generational gap there is in just 20 years.

It was an 8 AM class and some of the students made it to their chosen desk and promptly laid down their heads to finish sleeping. Others arrived with breakfast and munched their way through the first 30 minutes of class. Some had their cell phones glued to their ears and seemed to enjoy the fact that the rest of us was able to hear all about their latest love woes. By now I was wondering my own wisdom in being in the class.

The clock on the wall showed 8 AM and moved on with no professor on site. About 10 minutes past the appointed time, a man walked into class. I took him to be the professor since he sat at the desk up front. I must admit that I did stare and I’m sure my mouth was even open a bit. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and I would guess the professor did as well. Only I think he never left. Okay, I know I’m judging here on externals…but he really looked like he had just left Woodstock and came to class. Jeans full of holes and rips, sandals, long thinning hair in a ponytail and a t-shirt complete with a picture of Bob Marley.

There was no syllabus, no handouts and only one book that was declared optional since the bookstore was out of stock. He proceeded to tell us that we would be writing six papers in his class and have two group projects as well, and if that was a problem for anyone, now was the time to leave. To my amazement, eight people stood up and left! Even if I had wanted to leave I would not have been able to since most people thought desk placement was only a suggestion, and had moved theirs into aisles for more leg room. I did decide to stick out the class and see just how creative everyone was…or obtained their creativity.

My point in telling you about the makeup of my class is to set the stage for one of my writing assignments. We had to write a poem and go through the process of getting it published. I wasn’t sure what to write my poem about, and then I considered my class. As the weeks went by, I listened to conversations, the professor and even got to read others students papers from our group projects. I realized that many of the students had similar things going on in their respective lives, and was very vocal in blaming someone or something for their problems. Now granted I was the old man in the group, but I did have to wonder if any of them even considered they were dealing with issues because of personal choice. And hence I came up with an idea of what to write my poem about.

One interesting thing that happened is that we had to enter our poems in a writing contest at the school and submit it for publication. Believe it or not, my poem one first place and was even accepted for publication. I thought that was pretty nice.

As I wrote my poem, which is in free verse style, I really did enjoy the project and also found that I firmly believed what I was writing. We can whine and complain about many things (like most of us do) and the circumstances we find ourselves in. But it is by our choices we make in life, and the resultant consequences (good or bad) that we must deal with. I believe discovering that truth is called maturity by some. So I share my poem with you now and hope you enjoy it.

Choices

Rick Huntress

 

The shoreline stretched before her

Into and unseen distance.

Seaweed and shells lying in

Tangled masses,

Resembled her tangled thoughts.

She was a solitary figure,

Stark,

Staring out to sea as she walked in silence.

 

Her emotions, now in check as the gentle surf,

Would deceive any observer

Into thinking her life

Serene.

 

But her thoughts did not match

The peacefulness of her surroundings,

But rather foreshadowed and impending

Storm.

 

Her feelings, warring against her common sense,

Thinking of choices she had to face,

Caused her

Sanity

To be as restless as the sea.

 

Then looking back from where she had walked,

The waves had erased all evidence

Of her existence.

Searching

The shoreline ahead,

Showed her existence had not thus far intruded.

 

This place,

This one solitary spot,

On a seemingly endless

Shoreline,

Was her one moment in time.

What she would do with her life,

She must do now.

 

Her past,

Swept away

By the ever changing sea.

Her future,

As uncertain as the

Sands

Before her.

 

This one small spot on the shore of life,

Was her appointed time.

 

She made her choice, accepted the consequences, and continued on.

 

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