Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I was asked to make a presentation to the local Author's Circle here in Williamson County by Bill Peach our resident philosopher extraordinary. Therefore, I wanted to share with you one of topics I'll be telling these highly qualified writers and authors.
And this is it: Two of the reasons I decided to begin a career in writing- Professors Arnold and Benson.
As an incoming freshman in 1983, in my naivete' I leapt forward and took some of the basics my first quarter (yes, it was by quarters way back then) in order to get some of those core requirements out of the way. I had not learned that you wait and ask around to see who the ball-buster professors were. One of those professors was Anne Arnold.
I took English 101 from Professor Arnold. She made the class unbearable. I never wrote and rewrote so many papers in my life. All, of course, on my Brother typewriter. Thank goodness it had a correction ribbon. She tried to impress upon us all of the proper usages and imprinted in my mind forever, the improper use of superfluous commas, and the overuse and incorrect use of semi-colons and everything else. I still fail miserably with these after all of these years. I get as much help as I can from my computer and people I trust that know more than I. She was a ball-buster and I received a "C" from her. I saw her obituary in the Billings Gazette years later and wondered if anyone showed up at the funeral.
Then there was Professor Benson. A big guy with an infectious smile, he too impressed upon us something quite different and that was: It's all about style, creativity, being unique, profundity and the like. It is all about being the creative- you. The very first day in advanced writing, (I took it straight out of Eng. 101- go figure) he asked us to write a one page essay before we left on the topic of "dress". I was stunned. I knew not of style or that kind of thing, yet I got through it and wondered how badly I had failed and how much red ink would be on the page when I received it back. The next class period, he handed all of my classmates their papers back to them. But I received none. I thought maybe he had lost it. I was wrong. He announced that he'd like to read a pupil's paper and that he found it quite good, considering the circumstances we were faced with, and that was the kind of writing he wanted to see the rest of the quarter. Then, he began to read my paper. He blew me away and gave me the confidence I needed to go on to receive an "A" in his class. He also gave me the confidence to begin my first book after all of those years out of college.
Although I received what I needed from both of these professors in order to graduate from college, I received much more from one of them and to him I am thankful. Thank you Professor Benson- wherever you are.