Sidetracked



Heady

He broke the spell.
George, with his translucent, pocked skin and thinning hair pulled down over his forehead like a baseball cap to mask the receding hairline.
He did it with passion, with intelligence.
I sat anxiously awaiting the start of his class. This was the class we all dread taking. This is the one that might possibly kill a student.
I pretended to read a copy of the school paper as I waited, but really I was eavesdropping on the conversations around me. This happens a lot.
My stomach twisted in pain as I waited. I was five years old and at the doctor's office again, doomed to be punctured by a stinging needle. It'll feel like a mosquito bite, that's what they always tell you. Sometimes it's worse though, much, much worse.
Being locked in my mind, I always believe it will be much, much worse.
But it was easy and comforting, and it made me giddy to listen to him talk about becoming better writers, talk about great books he read and wanted us to read.
He wants to inspire.
In the three and a half years I've sat in the journalism halls, pretending to read newspapers, I've heard things about this man that built and built until I was absolutely intimidated.
"To get an 'A' you have to be one of his pets." I told friends I was taking his class, and they stared back sympathetically. "You poor, poor thing. He will rip you to shreds, or at least your writing." He has some distinguished experience in the journalistic world. He knows important people. He's interviewed and worked for even more important people. I'm kind of on the fence about him still. But he managed to pull me out of the murky sludge I'd been sitting in only an hour and a half before, simply by talking about shaping us into better writers.

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