Wednesday, June 6, 2012


ImagiLearning Highlands

Creative Writing Workshop, she read. That was the right place. The room was covered by posters all saying the same thing “Stick to the topic”. For some reason, that didn’t sound like a good way to trigger creativity. It felt a bit claustrophobic too. As everyone sat down to start, the instructor (yes that is how they called him in the course plan) moved everyone to sit on the left side of the room. He explained that the seats on the right side would be attributed according to a merit scale he had defined. When asked to share that scale, he bluntly refused. Everyone shrugged and the course started. It was hour after hour of a painful path through things that had absolutely nothing to do with creativity and far less with writing. There had to be a reason for all this, there had to be a lesson behind it, they thought. But the instructor continued on and on. The seats on the right had been filling up with people who smiled a lot, who said the course was very interesting and the instructor so well informed. The ones still sitting on the left side after 2 days of workshop started to leave. They thought it was ridiculous. It felt like they were being brainwashed. Who was this man? What was the point? Would there be a moment when everyone would sigh of relief and think ah, that is why all this happened. On the third and last day, she was the only one sitting on the left side. She raised her hand. “I was sitting outside looking at the blue sea and wondering which was the creative part of this workshop.” The instructor took a few steps in her direction. “This workshop has a lesson for you. Stick to the point.” She looked at the brochure of the course titled Creative Writing Workshop. “I am. Which was the creative part of this course? Here it clearly says creative.” And she pointed at the word written in capital letters and in bold. The instructor sneered. “I am.” No one reacted; they didn’t want to lose their privileges on the right side of the room. “You?! How?” she asked completely puzzled. “I made you think,” he said. She shook her head. “You made me want to leave. Only because of my stubbornness am I still here. As you can see, most have left, except those few who got a ridiculous seat on the right side of the room.” He smiled. “Class dismissed.” The next day, she went back to check the results of the course. She was pretty sure she would see her name in red with a big “F” of failed to complete the course, right there. Much to her amazement, all the others had an “F”, even those who had been sitting on the right side of the room. She was the only one who didn’t. After her name was written “Course completed with success”. The instructor walked up to her “You were the only one who dared to speak up. That was the point of this whole course. Creativity is, among other things and believe it or not, having the guts to speak up when others don’t.”

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