So I have a favorite class. About two weeks ago, we broke into groups to present ideas on a short story the teacher assigned us to read. My group was pretty big, and there was no way I was going to speak in front of the entire class, so I decided to lead the discussion and delegate speaking parts to other members of the group. They let me, and it was fun being in charge. I got them to determine who was speaking, about what, and in what order. Then they delivered, not because of anything I’ve done, but because they’re purely stellar students. But boy, it felt great when they payed attention when I spoke, asked questions, conversed with them. It was neat.
Last week we split into groups to have peer reviews of first drafts of a paper. The final drafts are due on Tuesday. After the teacher told us to group up, one classmate called out my name and said, “I want to be in your group. I like your clarity of thought.” Took me off guard. Apparently, he can decrypt my Mad Libs. The teacher overheard and more or less agreed with him. Took me off guard even more. Then two other students quickly sidled up and we had our quorum. And I was worried about being able to find people to work with. I guess I got lucky. Anyway, we read each other’s papers aloud and provided feedback, and as far as academic experiences go, it was rather uplifting.
The teacher asked us if we were going to try to rewrite or revise our papers from the other classmates’ work. I thought about it and was getting ready to raise my hand, and then she said, “You might be surprised. You’re not going to. You like coming up with your own ways to express your own ideas.” She’s right, you know. The more I read, the more inspiration I find, but I’m also more apt and content to let authors rule completely over their domain. Maybe it’s respect for the author, maybe I’m just a big snob, and since nearly every original thought has been reworked and reincarnated a million different ways, I feel I’m preserving somehow the purity of an honest process by being less of a ripoff.
I could also be legitimately disillusioned.
The dream makes me happy.