Reena’s Exploration Challenge #122 — Professor Pettigrew’s Magic

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.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris Hall says:

    Good choice! Hope he makes it big 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I would LOVE to see English 101 be taught like this to freshmen at community college!


  2. Reena Saxena says:

    Checked out the book on Amazon after reading this 🙂 English version is currently not available.

    Thanks for adding value beyond the wisdom of the piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Amazon has it at its US site, are you looking at a different one? I found a blurb on it at goodreads.
      You are welcome, Reena. I really wish they would teach English 101 at community college like this. It would instill a love for reading in many.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reena Saxena says:

        I buy from, the India site. The Kindle version available is in some other language.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reena Saxena says:

    Reblogged this on Reena Saxena and commented:
    Professor Pettigrew’s Magic … by Jade Li/Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadje says:

    Great story. Hope it inspires all of us to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      🙂 Thank you, Sadje. Especially for the young ones who are glued to their phones.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        Specially them.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. badfinger20 says:

    Books are amazing…you get lost in them. Glad he found his purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes! It is one of the things I really tried to inspire in some of my probationers, either a love of reading or developing critical thinking skills through writing essays for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 says:

        I’ve told you before I think… my Jr High librarian ordered Beatle band baseball books just for me. It changed my life forever. I’ve been full of useless trivia ever since…and other things people say lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          ❤ I'm glad your librarian did.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. kittysverses says:

    Nice one. I’d love to attend such a class. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Wouldn’t it be fun 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kittysverses says:

        Yup definitely. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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