It was said by Walt Disney, “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” In my opinion, creativity is the most import key in writing. Yes, before the MLA format, before the correct punctuation, and before the correct sentence structure. In my opinion, the Composition 101 course was the answer to my dreams, the dreams from the hidden author inside me.
It was my first college class of my first college semester. I was so nervous that I woke up three hours early to plan my outfit. I thought to myself, should I dress for success? Should I dress comfortably, yet classy? I ended up having my three year old and seven year old sisters agree on an outfit. It ended up being that they picked out a cat sweater my grandmother had sent me in 1999. Don’t ask me how they found that sweater because I was almost positive I had donated it to the Salvation Army upon receiving. Of course arguing with them made those three hours fly by, and I was in a fight with the clock in order to make it to class on time.
As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by this gorgeous young woman. She was blond, petite, and full of quirky humor. I thought to myself, I hope she’s my teacher for every class I have to attend here. But it was blast off, and an introduction into our first paper. It was about “stuff.” She assigned us to go home and take a picture of our “stuff” and bring the photograph into the classroom the next time we met. One thing everyone should know about my Mom, when she says clean… She means it. Whenever I arrive home from classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I could bet on the smell of bleach lingering in the air. These were her cleaning days because those were the only days of the week when all three of her children are in school. My Mom keeps everything in place, except for one closet. This closet is hidden through the laundry room in the back of another closet. She never likes anyone to see that closet because it is the one place in the entire house that items are out of place. And of course, this is what I wanted to write about. As soon as she stepped away to greet my sister from the bus I snapped a picture.
I wrote my first paper of my first college course, of my first college class. I started out with the cookie-cutter format that was forced upon me via my third grade teacher. I wasn’t even sure if that is what she wanted. One requirement of the course is that we have conferences with the instructor. I gave her my paper and she told it to me straight. She told me to put my guard down and just write. She told me I should write about whatever this picture made me think of. I decided to take her advice. I let my guard down, sat at a computer in the library, put on my noise cancelling headphones and went to work. I took charge and wrote down everything that came to mind. I wrote about my sisters, I added some key facts about my mom, and everything else that came to mind. I felt like the Mad Hatter, and I let my creative ADD run free. Around the end of my conclusion, there it was. There was this mess of ideas, stories, past situations on this, my first college paper. There was no way in the world this is what she wanted.
I showed up for my next conference, ready to hear some laughs. This cannot be what she was asking for. I was completely shocked to look at her expressions and see a smile. It turned out she fell in love with my family, just as I do every day. I shared the stories of that closet, how it still is the only place in the house that has items out of place. How everyone in the family had some sort of use for that one closet. She actually asked for more. What? MORE?? She absolutely loved the ideas and wanted to hear the ending of how my sister Dakota took all my bras and attempted to make the roof for her fort from them. This one small assignment opened up the creative drive inside me, the creative drive that was screaming to have a chance to prove itself.
What I expected to hear from my professor was the complete opposite of what I heard. After that one conference, I knew this was the place for me. I was on my A game, ready for the next assignment to come my way. My professor seemed to be singing a native song, slowly and carefully dragging the creative beast that lives inside of us all. She encouraged us to let our creativity flow. She allowed us to sit and write. No need to read that sentence again, because your eyes did not deceive you. We would sit at our desks in the middle of the class and write. There was no need to worry about format, or comma splices, or making sure you indent your sentences.
The one day my creative stories get the proper recognition, you can bet that dedication page will have my Composition 101 teacher’s name on it. I can never give her the proper thank you that she deserves. I encourage everyone to let their inner creative beast to come out and play. Walt Disney let his inner beast out, and look what happened to him. He has one of the most successful companies in the entire world, millions of people know his name, and he is constantly being remembered. He gave an inspirational quote that I think everyone should take into consideration. So my advice to everyone is to give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen?
Kelsey Kotwasinski has been a Peer Writing Consultant at the MVCC Writing Center since Spring 2011. Come visit the Center to talk writing with her.