Credit: Daniel Salmieri in A Velocity of Being
Johnny’s English 101 teacher was the old-fashioned kind, and Johnny wasn’t sure he liked the old-fashioned kind. English 101 was Johnny’s 8 a.m. Monday-Thursday class in his freshman year at the community college. The first class Professor Pettigrew laid out the groundwork for the semester as he went through the syllabus. There were cubbys at the front of the room where all cell phones and laptops were to be deposited as one entered the classroom. Participation and Attendance counted for 50% of one’s grade.
The most unusual expectation was that one would read an actual paper book of at least 300 pages every week. Monday-Wednesday students rotated talking about the books they had read the week before. Thursdays were reserved for stream-of-consciousness writing about anything that had been covered for the week. Each alternating week, small pods of 4 students would choose to read the same book from a list Mr. Pettigrew gave them. On the other weeks, the students could read anything they wanted with the minimum pages.
Johnny’s pod chose Chuck Palahniuk’s book, “Rant” to read first. Johnny hadn’t read an actual paper book since elementary school. He stopped at the college bookstore on his way out and picked up a copy. On his bus ride home as he read, he felt the world around him blur to grey while color poured out of the pages, saturating his consciousness.
By the time the first semester ended, Johnny knew what he wanted to do in life: write.
Reena Saxena is the host of Reena’s Exploration Challenge. Reena asks us to write to the top photo and says:
As usual, there is no restriction on format or length of the piece.