College life

November 9, 2011

Morley Callaghan, one of my favourite Canadian writers, was teaching a course in creative writing at the University of Windsor. He asked the students to raise their hands if they wanted to be writers? All the students raised their hands. Then what are you doing here?  he asked. Get out there and write.

Its rubbed me the wrong way for decades. The masquerade. (I’m going to generalize here and thus be extraordinarily cruel.)  In the Toronto Star today there was an article about 2 young writers. Emerging from anonymity. Each of them had won a number of prizes. And then they said it. Presently teaching creative writing courses at the university of blah blah blah. Writers, artists, poets who live in universities. Winning prizes. What are they writing about? What could they possibly have to write about? Their parents’ stuggle? Their memories of childhood. There are dramas, tragedies happening every day in people’s lives. People who have lost their jobs. People who have lost their homes. Young people who are being beaten by their parents. Who are beating their parents. Fractures. Pain. Love won and lost. But you won’t feel those people’s pain teaching a college course. So what are our artists writing about? Life at college? An Andy Hardy culture.



Part 6

I don’t adhere to the BIG BANG THEORY for the creation of the universe. I believe it began at some kid’s birthday party. A little boy made a wish. His sister in an act of heroism, blew all the candles out.

Why don’t you apply to some magazines. She grins like the chief of police. There is a dream of me she is trying to enforce. In it I am being interviewed on a talk show. The host is congratulating me on the thoroughness of my muscles and the power of my insights. I am grinning like a man running for public office. And then in a moment of solemnity I confess that none of this would have been possible without the support of my wife. She is the wheelchair and I am the cripple. From a hush the audience rises into applause. The program’s ratings soar. Editorials claim that I should be the PM. With a wife like that how could the country ever go wrong.

Critics are everywhere humbly crowning the next soon to be released ts eliot. It must be remembered they will tell you that it is not America but Columbus who is important.

I want to be a fiction writer, I say. She replies, you’re just making that up.

Hot and sticky nights remind me of her. Breasts pointed in opposite directions. Beads of sweat on her chest. A rasp in her voice. Keeping her distance from me. I try to explain to her that it is in moments of greatest discomfort that I need her the most. Why is it, she interupts, that all men want to die while inside a woman.

You want the limelight for yourself, she screamed. You’re so selfish. You should be an atheist.

One Response to “College life”

  1. Wonderful I enjoyed looking through your page. I think you are truely remarkable.

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