Bay City Community College
There is an energy about the man who will lead the class. Good energy. A warm positive flow. He spills into the room, like water into an open space, filling it with a presence that is genial. Pleasant. These are the words that come to her. He is handsome in a very American way; light eyes and hair, broad-shouldered and tall. There is a little whisper somewhere within. To remind her. That especially with men it is not a matter of how the outside may look. Wariness returns. She wonders what might hide beneath the visible. Instead of simply being afraid, she is mixed in her emotion. Curiosity piques as well, questions. She recognizes the little bird inside; a spirit long dormant. And feels a flutter of wings.
He is holding a sizable stack of papers and books. Corners at the base of the pile stick out in some disorder. Because his hands are full he gives the door a backward shove with his shoulder, letting momentum take it to a satisfying meeting of wood against wood. There is a rush of air through open windows when the door closes, blinds and flapping cord lengths tap against window frames as the exiting gust flows into the grassy tree-dotted expanse beyond the building.
He strides to the front of the room where he deposits his load of materials upon the tabletop. He shrugs out of his navy coloured blazer and drapes it across a chair back. His movements are relaxed and unhurried. He talks as he makes himself ready. 'Good evening.' He casts his smile to each and every being in the room, taking them in with his welcome. His voice is deep and rich, with an edge of a western nasality. 'Welcome to English 50. I don't like to refer to it as English 50, because to me it says nothing about the course. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds it just a bit strange that language can be objectified by some arbitrary number. However, I use it this once in an effort to make sure that you've found your way to the right class, like you weren't expecting nuclear physics, or calculus or something.'
There is a ripple of laughter. He turns his back to them, facing the dusty expanse of chalkboard. 'You can laugh, but it happens more than you might think.' He is writing English 50, and then, underneath, in a larger line of squarish block capitals he writes: Introduction to Creative Writing. He says, as he begins a third line, 'My name is Neil Turner.' T-U-R-N-E-R he completes in a swift, practised spill. He turns to face the group; places the bone of chalk on the desk.
'In this class we'll play with the arrangement of words to give something meaning. We're going to spend our time doing that in a variety of ways. To expose you to a breadth of style and form. We're going to read and discuss some of the works of the more notable writers of our day, and we're also going to share our own works, if you will, in order to gain insight and to, hopefully, foster creativity within the group. That, in a nutshell, is it. In this class we'll talk, we'll read, and we'll write. Sound like what you expected?' Several heads nod. With hands on hips at the front of the room, he is now more closely surveying the group assembled before him. 'Good,' he says to the spare response. He brings hands from hips into a sharp, quick clap to dispel the remaining chalk grime and signal his intention to move on.
'I'll get administrative housekeeping out of the way first of all, and then we can get on with things. The college likes me to take the roll at least on this first meeting in an effort to keep their records neat and tidy. Tell me if there's something else you want to be called and I'll make a note. I should also warn you that it takes a while for my mind to put faces and names together, so give me a couple of weeks. I don't mean to be rude, but at the outset