After my meeting with Miss Pat, I felt a sense of relief, followed quickly by a sense of doom when it finally hit me that I was truly stuck. At least for three more weeks anyway. Three more weeks of being visually anihilated, and waiting for the verbal ax to descend on my head. I had two days to compose a publishable short story, or one of sufficient quality to raise my Grade to D.
So, of course I spent the next two days at the local watering hole, drinking philosophy with my friends. When I got back to my dorm room, I sat staring at a blank piece of paper, my mind locked in a closet.
I tried automatic writing. That was big back then. (Bear in mind this was before the computer age, ie 1977). Anyway, you'd sit there, put the pen to paper, and watch your hand automatically start writing profound thoughts, on par with Sartre and Proust, or Steinbeck. It depended on the class actually.
Well, nothing happened. Unless you call automatic shit scribbling something. So instead of work in progress, I was still on work of shit by midnight. Finally, I came up with something I thought would pass muster at least. I called it, Friends for Life, or some such shit title. So, I based my story around the weekend adventures with my friends. I thought it would work. I really did. Well, didn't Diner come out a few years later?
I turned it in on Monday, pleased with myself and convinced I had written a masterpiece. Pleased, that I beat Mr. Carver at his sadistic games. Won't he be surprised. He'll just be so overwhelmed by the quality, my grade will shoot up to B. Maybe he'll say, good job again.
A week later, he passed our short stories out, and mine seem to be a bit more red than the others. I could see the red as I walked up to get my paper. Hmm, I thought. Maybe it was so good, he couldn't help but paint his wonderful comments all over my paper.
As I looked it over and saw, "THIS IS CRAP! I WANT TO SEE YOU IN MY OFFICE THIS WEEK!, painted all over the paper, my body color changed from a healthy tan color, to mustard green. I sat down deflated, and when I looked up again, Mr. Carver was eyeing me,and raised those bushy, diabolical eyebrows. Then he smiled big. Now, I had never seen Mr. Carver smile. Never. Ever. Not once. At least in class. I didn't see him outside of class.
I felt like I was locked in some kind of bizarre death of dance with him. Who ever falls first is dead. And it was fairly obvious, if anybody fell, it would be me. What was worse, I now had to make the office appointment. Oh joy. Someone hit me in the head and put me in the hospital for a month.
After class was over, and I finished thanking God that my paper didn't get ripped apart in class, I walked up the scaffold, and waited by the trap door. When all the students had left except me, I nervously asked Mr. Carver, when would it be convenient for him to see me.
He looked up at me, not smiling now, his bushy eyebrows crossed over each other, and said, Ms Yada, I want to see you in my office on Wednesday at blah blah blah. Be there. No excuses. And out he rumbled, leaving me making plans for my funeral.
If you google Raymond Carver, there are 3 pictures of him at the bottom of the page. You pick the one I was most likely facing that day. That's your assignment. And now I gotta get back to my WIP. More drama to come.