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Yuletide Greetings and Well Wishes

Happy Holiday, whichever one you choose to celebrate. Be happy and safe. I have a ham to roast, children to spoil and family to be with. See you in a week.

L. E. White

Cliché

It was a dark and stormy night as Dirk stared at his reflection on the inky black window. He squinted his eyes as he tried to peer through the deepening darkness to where he knew the gate house lights burned. He vainly wished that he had been born with storm sight, the magical power that would allow his mind’s eye to see the world from the raging fury of the clouds above.

Dirk spun around and stalked quickly back to the desk, grabbing the scotch bottle and pouring another drink from the rapidly emptying container. He tilted his mouth back, letting the burning liquid distract him from the burning feeling of unease that chewed through his belly like a rat, burrowing its way through old house walls.

***

I looked up at the young man who sat on the other side of my desk. He was leaned forward, perching on the edge of his seat like a hawk watching for signs of prey in the field below. He was excited to see what my reaction would be. I could tell from the twitching at the corner of his lips. He bounced his leg a little bit, his body refusing to hold still because he was almost literally overflowing with exuberance over showing me, his instructor, his work.

The problem with teaching an introductory creative writing course is that most of the students are novice writers. They have no idea of story craft. Their work is dreadful and the department chair doesn’t want to lose students to the harsh realities of a writer’s life. I have been asked not to do more than suggest revisions and offer gentle guidance that will lead the student to enroll in the more advanced classes. I am supposed to encourage them to continue their education and enrollment.

In this piece, the only thing my aspiring wordsmith had failed to do was to describe his character from the reflection. That was a lot of bad writing to cram into the first two paragraphs.

Some days, like when I have just gotten off the phone with my ex-wife, I am more than happy to tell a student what I think of their work. Other days, well, other days are more hopeful about the future.

This was terrible, but he was lucky. My ex had not called this week.

“I like it,” I said. “But I think there is a lot of room for improvement. Do you have time to go over it?”

He didn’t stop smiling; he just reached into his bag and pulled out another copy.

And a red pen.

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