Once, in high school, my English teacher assigned us to sit somewhere quiet and write everything we thought for ten minutes. Everything. Stream of consciousness.
I chose to sit under a tree at the park, near a dusty trail where joggers occasionally bounced by. I wrote about the trees and the air and the audition I’d recently had for a high school play, which I was pretty bitter about because it seemed to me that only the teacher’s favorite kids had been cast, whether they were suited for the roles or not.
When I got my paper back, I had an A. I also had a few comments in the margins about my attitude and accepting the director’s casting decisions, which pretty well pissed me off. Why ask us to write everything we’re thinking and then criticize us? The point of the exercise had been to write honestly, to let words flow without any sort of self-editing. I’d thought it was a pretty cool assignment.
I still do, which is why I’ve chosen it as this week’s writing challenge. For some of you, it will be no challenge at all. For others, it will be ten minutes of battling your inner editor who really wants to go back and erase that last sentence because it made no sense at all and why can’t you remember how to spell success and does that mean something about you psychologically?