Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Exercise

"Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."

-Albert Einstein

I was eleven years old and my classmates had been making vigorous noise while the teacher was out of the room. She sought to punish us all- not knowing for certain who the troublemakers were- and looked desperately around the classroom for something with which to torment our brains.
She spied her water jug on the desk.
"Write two entire pages about that jug," said she.
We were rather dismayed, as was her intention. How to write so much about a plastic object that was a utility for drinking?
Worse still, the piece was to be created at home, during otherwise free and fun time.
I always liked to write, however forced the circumstance, and I sat down to do it that evening with my mind separated from the fact that it was supposed to be a punishment.
I still am unsure where the story came from but I wrote, from the animated point of view of the jug, about the imagined formation of said item in a factory and about how it- I- was transported from place to place before reposing on a shelf waiting to be bought by my teacher and used in a moment of discipline. I became the jug and I let the words pour out.
My tale, which flew on for three pages, was singled out in the class, much to my astonishment. It was given a special credit for originality- which leads me to believe that by the following day the teacher herself had forgotten the very reason for the assignment- and I kept that story safe long after the book was filled with other scribbles and scratches, and long after I moved on from that class and that part of my life.
My mother was rummaging in the attic recently and she came across some old schoolwork of mine. As of this moment the jug story is still missing but I immediately recalled it and asked Mater to keep an eye out for the journal which had to be lurking somewhere among the dust and personal effects of my childhood.
The incident of impropriety that inspired the exercise really ought to have been forgotten long ago but I immortalised that moment, albeit unintentionally, for myself.


Beth said...

I think your mother must enjoy you. My daughter Sara told me once that before she was born she was sitting on a cloud looking down for the mommy she wanted and she picked me. I assumed that had something to do with my prodigious patience in the face of her startling imagination and intelligence. I think mater and I might have a lot in common. Please share the essay when it is found.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

That's a really lovely story :) I think too that you and Mater would like each other.
I certainly will share the story as soon as it is found. I might, on rereading it, cringe a little bit but I was only eleven!

Jaime said...

What a wonderfully creative mind you had at such a young age! I hope you find it. :)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, why, thank you :)
I'm sure I'll find it. It has to be there.

Pappy said...

I realized today that I have missed two days of The. How could that have happened? Baby sitting chores should not have distracted me so thoroughly. I'll bet you are double posting and changing the dates. No? Then I guess it must be me. My apologies.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, I didn't do anything differently, really. I saw you were having a different approach to comments on your own blog- which is an excellent idea when it gets so popular- and assumed you got busy! I'm glad you came by and caught up.

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