I was gabbin' with my roomie whom I've known since high school. And somehow, this after-school advanced English class that we both took came up. And I vaguely remembered this short story that I wrote, which was such a hit amongst my peers. They laughed, they asked for a copy, even my English teacher, who never gave a grade above 80%, liked it. Me, a science geek, writing a piece of literary work that was not only well received, but actually beloved.
I couldn't remember what it was about though. But my roomie did! She remembered floss and she remembered details that I had completely and utterly forgotten... Why do we remember certain things, but not others...
High School Graduation © Ellany Lea 1998
School Kills Creativity
So I dug up my old external hard drive and actually found the short story I wrote. Ahahaha, it made me laugh. I wrote this 18 years ago, 18 FREAKIN' YEARS AGO... before school killed my creativity... before society made me conform to the ideal of "married in my 20s with 2.5 kids, a white fenced house, 2 car garage and 1.5 pets" (none of which I have nor want right now), before my culture made me believe that being different was the same as being inadequate.
Today, one of my besties, my roomie and I are doing The Artist's Way together, a 12-week program to rekindle our creativity. A big part of this creativity journey is to write 3 pages every morning for 12 weeks. We are at week 3. We are holding each other accountable.
But it makes me sad that such a program is even needed, to undo the damage that school, society and culture has done on all of us. I don't blame any of them. It just makes me kinda sad. Sigh.
Watch the TED Talk on Why Schools Kill Creativity.
Sweet Memory Lane
Clients and I often go very, very, VERY deep into their psyche to figure out what's blocking them, why they're resisting what they're resisting, and/or why they fear success.
Without having to go so deep, one of the simplest and sweetest exercises I've had them do is to dig up something that they've written 10 or more years ago. Read it, re-read it, and most importantly share it with friends. It'll boost your positivity quotient, make you face any lingering perceived inadequacies, and walk you on a sweet path of memory line so that you rekindle your own creative self-worth.
Ella's First Short Story
Look what I found! My first short (very short) story. Ahaha.
There’s nothing worst in the world for a six-year-old child than to receive a toothbrush as a treat on Halloween. That’s what most people think. But just let me tell you that nothing could have been worst than being the six-year-old child who had to give out those toothbrushes. Yup, that was me, Samuel, the kid who wore a white lab coat and had a 4 foot tall toothbrush as a costume.
I guess I slowly came to the conclusion that being different was being special, because 20 years later, on Halloween, I still give out toothbrushes to children. But now, I actually take pride in doing so. If I don’t, who will teach the next generation the importance of dental hygiene? Do they want to end up chasing their grandson who ran away with their dentures? I think not.
When some teenage trick-or-treaters threw eggs at my window and rolls of toilet paper on my front lawn, I sort of got the message. They were all “sick and tired of my toothbrushes” or so they wrote in a badly spelled death threat. So I finally opted for, well … dental floss. They weren’t the cheap ones, might I add.
It reminded me of the good old days, you know, those days that were the worst days of your life. You know that commercial that says, “Not everyone has time to brush, so chew chew Trident gum”? Well, I use the next best thing: dental floss. Throughout high school, my classmates, the ones who managed to notice my existence, just called me Floss, because I would floss after every meal. Instead of gum, I would floss. Instead of breath freshener, I would floss. Instead of mouth spray, I would floss. Did anyone notice a pattern developing?
So I dedicated my life to preaching dental care to the world. People ignoring me just strengthened my conviction to make the inside of the mouth a better place. My teachers at Med school who at first admired my enthusiasm soon just took my behaviour for insanity. But when has the desire for sane gums become a crime? That’s what I kept asking the police officer who arrested me. I was just flossing for goodness’ sake … ok, so they were someone else’s teeth, but a little dental floss can only do good.
My quest often landed me in interesting and new places, but mostly behind bars or in courts. But the judge, my patient, was always fairly reasonable and dismissed most of my harassment/stalking charges. I made a pretty good living, and the money people gave me to stay away from them helped a lot in paying the bills.
But I have had enough. If no one is willing to listen, then I shall take this to the top of the tallest building in the city. Hoping to revolutionise dental care, I jump in the name of teeeeee… (splat).
When I came to, before I even opened my eyes, I heard the rhythmic beeping of hospital monitors. I saw a shadow mumble something about jumping off a balcony. The respirator saved my life. I had found my life’s mission: to become an electrical engineer, to save more lives by way of hospital monitors.
LOL! A little morbid? Perhaps. I was 16, give the kid a break.