I wrote this title (I promise)
I think I was a Junior in high school. It could have been later, but I’m pretty sure it was that third, penultimate year.
I had a friend who was in a creative writing class. It was the kind of class that you had to submit a writing sample to get into, not your typical elective. I’d done a wee bit of creative writing at that point1 and decided I should give it a go.
The issue was, I think, that I’d need to turn in a piece tomorrow (or some relatively short time frame). I didn’t have much time to write something. Or perhaps I’m making that up as a way to justify.
That evening, I did what I often did around 8pm: sat down to watch Evening at the Improv, one of my favorite shows. I loved watching stand up comedy. One of the comedians had a couple of stories that I liked, so I wrote them down.
Rather, I wrote them in a way that seemed like I was writing a couple of short stories. And then I put my name on them.
And then I turned them in. To the creative writing teacher.
And I walked away, sure that on one would be the wiser.
Sure that no one else watched Evening at the Improv.
I was wrong.
When she called me in to her office, she was serious. I wouldn’t be taking her class. She told me what I’d done. I denied it. She reiterated her point. She was very clear and direct.
And she told no one. Neither did I.
Until this morning when, for reasons I won’t go into here, I shared it with a friend.
And now I’m sharing it here. I’m sharing it because it’s important to get these things out. Even if it’s something that I, present day Greg, don’t feel bad about, I know that part of me, high school Greg, held deep shame about.
To that teacher, whose name I don’t remember: I’m sorry. I’m sorry I lied, and I’m sorry I denied it. You deserved better.
Frankly, so did I.
And to high school Greg: I get it. You knew that class could open something in you, but you were afraid of that. To have shared something real, fuck, that would have been too much. I get why you sabotaged that.
I got this now. You’re in good hands.
Let’s let this shit flow.
All real. All me. Well, all flowing through me.
Including, believe it or not, writing a “Choose your own adventure” style biblical story at synagogue.↩︎