_bazilisk_ (_bazilisk_) wrote,

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The Awful Destruction of Many Potential Writers

...at the age of 16, I was blossoming- churning out poem after poem, realizing the magic that lies in the ability to tell a story people can believe in or laugh at, and realizing that I had a talent that peers and superiors were impressed by. I loved looking around me in a creative writing class in my wealthy suburban Ohio high school and recognizing which of my peers were the most talented. I relished the opportunity to hear and read these students’ new work. There were maybe 3 very talented students in each class of around 20, by my judgment.
Then I visited my dad in New York City, and I wondered: how many of the people my age in my dad’s neighborhood of Flatbush, Brooklyn, an area with a bad reputation for gang activity, were interested in English class? How many of them would be interested in English class if they went to a school like mine back in suburban Ohio, from an early age? And then how many would then take Creative Writing, and, while there, how many would I recognize as “good,” how many would write things that I would read with a wide smile on my face, not wanting to put it down? How many potential really great writers were out there? Would I ever be able to read something by any of the young people who would pass me on the street in this disadvantaged area?
Suddenly, I had a mellow but deep feeling in the depths of my gut. It was as though a gear was twisting incorrectly somewhere in the machine of the human world, and its vibrations of injustice were traveling through the air and sinking through my skin, irritating my organs. Some of my intellectual peers- fellow writers, a group I feel a strong connection to and affection for- were being squashed into literary nothingness through their “flaw” of, as my AP US History teacher at the time would say, “being born to the wrong parents.” People born in Flatbush and educated in the local schools, which I heard were awful, might have the writerly ability beaten out of them by class problems such as low school funding, tumultuous home situations, and lack of funding and preparation for college life. It was like squashing seedlings before they sprouted. It was all shades and sorts of wrong, and it still hurts to think about this.

-from a paper, I'll admit, but in one of those classes where they let ya ramble. :D I love progressive prof's so much.

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