by Tina Stone
My sole purpose for writing is to elicit a reaction from the reader.
|I was taking a creative writing class during my senior year of high school mostly because it seemed like a relatively easy A. Mr. Flemming was the teacher and while he was laid back and had a casual, easy-going style for teaching, he didn't accept lazy writing. He had zero problems shredding your work if he felt you had not given your best.
We had been given the assignment to write a short story using very strong descriptive words that also involved one of our natural senses and would evoke a strong response from the reader. I knew Mr. Flemming had mentioned a few times he hated cats. For my paper, I described how I loved the smell of my cat. I told him how I could pick up what the weather was doing just by smelling the cat. On warm sunny days, her fur smelled of clover, dirt, and sunshine. On cold wet days, she smelled earthy, fresh and the dampness clung to her fur. For 250 words I went on and on about the wonders of how my cat smelled.
After we handed in our assignments, I watched very closely as he read our papers as he was editing them. I saw when he started reading mine and I will never forget the look of disgust that came over his face and he actually, exclaimed out loud, "Ewww, Yuck!" It took all my teenage effort not to give in to the wide grin that threatened to crack my face.
I knew then. That day. That hour. That second. I wanted to write. I wanted to write with the sole purpose of getting people to react. It didn't matter HOW they reacted; if it was with horror, disgust, laughter, giggles, tears, gasps... all that mattered was getting that reaction from my readers.
All these years later, I still love writing. I love it when readers write and tell me they had some kind of reaction to something I've written. I'll never forget Mr. Flemming's reaction to my paper.