Monday, January 7, 2013

52 Gems of Reflection

Debby's jar of journal prompts - A true treasure from heaven!
A while back, I found this jar of journal prompts in my bedroom, and soon learned from my husband that it belonged to his mother, Debby. My sister-in-law, The Purple Lady, later informed me that it was something her mother had done at a Relief Society meeting that she had taken her to when she was young. 

Anyway, for those of you who don't know, my mother-in-law passed away before my husband and I met, so I was never given the opportunity to get to know her. All I have at my disposal are the few pictures of her that I've seen, and the memories of others. When I found this jar; though, I thought it might be fun to use the journal prompts as a blog project in order to kind of feel connected to her - and since this year marks the 10-year anniversary of her passing, I figured what better way to celebrate her memory than in a year-long project, which was born by the fruits of her labor! 

I ran the idea by The Purple Lady for some feedback, and we put our heads together. I took some pictures of the jar, she did some editing - and this is what we came up with:
52 Gems of Reflection
So, for the next 52 weeks, we will be dedicating Mondays to this fun, little project - wherein a journal prompt will be randomly selected, and its picture will be posted to my blog. I would like to encourage all who knew Debby - or even those who didn't, but still want to join in on the shenanigans - to check in every Monday for the weekly Gem of Reflection. Then, use said reflection as a prompt for a blog post of your own - or if you want to make things super simple, just leave a simple Facebook/Twitter post. Either way, please remember to leave a link to your blog post in the comments section below so that we can all stay connected through these reflections, and can appreciate what everyone has to say. 

The Purple Lady will also be posting the weekly prompts on Pinterest - so if you plan to participate, you can get the challenge photo (as shown above), along with the weekly photograph prompts via a pin that she will post each Monday under Blogs and other Writing Adventures.

So, without further delay, I bring you week 1 of 52:

Week 1: Thinking back, was there a teacher(s) or class that had a great influence on you?
Reflecting back on my experiences in high school and college, it seemed like the classes that kicked my behind the most - requiring me to really think and work my tail off - were the ones from which I benefited most profoundly. There were a few classes, in particular, that had a huge impact on my life, and on my ability as a writer - and go figure, most of them were English classes. 

The most influential class; however, was one I took my freshman year of college. It was a World Lit course, and I will never forget our eccentric, little professor, Dr. Rey. She had to have been in her late 60's, yet she had short, flaming red hair, wore mini skirts and knee-high boots, and always wore a ton of makeup, including bright red lipstick. It was an interesting environment, to say the least - but this woman had an incredibly insightful mind. The work load was absolutely ridiculous, too (or so we thought as 18 and 19-year-old kids). We were assigned a particular work of literature to study over the course of a two-week period, at the end of which we had a five to seven page paper due. This was basically what we did over the course of the entire semester. Every two weeks, there was a new work of literature assigned, and a new paper to write. 

I'll never forget the day that Dr. Rey handed back the first set of papers that we wrote for her class. She began class that day by passing out a two-sided sheet of paper that listed all of the gramatical issues she would be taking into consideration when grading our papers throughout the semester, then began to express her disappointment in all of our papers as a whole. She then continued to rant about how bored she had been while reading them (she actually said she'd had to pour herself a glass of wine just to get through the pile. lol), and how disgusted she was that so many college-level students were incapable of forming complete sentences. Burn! English and writing had always come quite easily to me, but I realized in that moment that this class was no joke. She had some seriously high expectations, and I was going to have to up my game significantly in order to succeed in her class.

After berating us on how completely incompetent we were as writers, she said that one paper, in particular, had stuck out above the others, and that she was going to read it aloud so the rest of us would know what a "real" paper is supposed to look like. Immediately, I started to think, "Great, some punk know-it-all in the class is making us all look bad." But then, when she started to read from the pages in her hand, I suddenly felt my eyes widen in embarrassment as my face went white. She was reading MY paper. I immediately sunk into my chair and could feel the weight of everyone's stares in the room. I kept telling myself to play it cool, to try and act normal, but it took every ounce of self control not to shift uncomfortably in my chair. It did me no good though. When she finished reading my paper, she walked over and handed it to me, so everyone knew who it belonged to. I seriously could have died (I know, so dramatic. Hehe). 

Now that the initial humiliation has worn off, I can say that it was the first time I really remember feeling legitimized as a writer. I mean, all my life, I had been praised by family members for my writing, but this somehow seemed different. Maybe because she had had such high expectations for us as college students? I guess it's like receiving a compliment from someone that you know doesn't usually throw them away at the drop of a hat. It means more coming from that person because you know they are sincere - and not just blowing smoke up your rear. hehe. 

I am not going to lie, the class seriously kicked my trash - and I wasn't the only one, apparently. By the end of the semester, there were only about six students (including me) still enrolled in the course. I seriously learned so much from that class though. Not only did I acquire an adoration for classic works of literature (Inferno, The Illiad, Beowulf, Oedipus, the King, etc.), but I also came to love certain characters, such as Hector (from The Illiad). Heck, I'll even go so far as to say that I even gained a true appreciation for the art of writing term papers. That doesn't mean that I want to write one EVER again after all that (although, I am sure I will, as I plan on going back to school to finish my degree at some point), but still. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Week 1