Sunday October 21st, 2012

The exercise:

Write something which takes place at: college.

Did some railing work on the deck this afternoon and made some decent progress. Hopefully we'll be able to get back to it (and better yet, finish it) before winter really settles in here.

Feels a little weird to not have loads of harvesting and organizing work to do tomorrow. It's a good weird though.


Nathan took his seat at the back of Psychology 101 and opened his notebook. It took a few moments of flipping before he encountered a blank page. Nathan always took care to take immaculate notes.

He didn't have to be there. It was an evening class, which meant he could have been at the pub with his friends. They'd be on their third beers by the time the professor strolled into the classroom and probably their second game of pool.

He didn't even need it for his major. Nathan had completed all his required electives the previous year when he barely managed to pass Chemistry and Geography. No, he was there purely out of interest.

Though not in the subject matter, of course. Well, he was a little interested in the issues being discussed each class - but only so that he knew which girls were particularly keen on which topics.

It made chatting them up so much easier.


Greg said...

I suppose Winter is the time for repairs and building for farmers though, with fewer crops to look after. Of course, once you get the livestock there'll be more to do :)
Nathan seems to have a pretty good grasp of psychology already – I imagine he'll pass the class quite easily :) The structure of the story is nice, building steadily to the punchline; with a few more side-jokes in there it would be easy to work into a stand-up routine.

It was Autumn at Gorillamumps, the Academy for the other-worldly, and drawing close to Hallowe'en as well. This was a date of some significance, like New Year's, when boundaries between worlds relaxed and possibilities expanded. Jermander, a vampire, was looking forward to it and the increase in power he could expect for the night.
He was a little wary however, because this was not his first year at Gorillamumps, and he now knew just what kind of changes to expect of his fellow students: the zombie kids would be so horrific he would have to make an effort to not be scared, and the Dark Young would have to be avoided at all cost unless he had a death wish. The young mummies would be faster than usual, and their ancient Egyptian magics could cause serious harm. Even the usually peaceable left-aligned Ancients of Mu-Mu would have their heads filled with memories of the last days of Atlantis and be prone to drowning passers-by with a casual glance.
"Jermander!" Bess, a sabre-toothed lesser sphinx, bounded over to him, the ground shaking slightly under her weight (which she didn't like to talk about). "What clath do you have now?"
"Rehearsals," said Jermander with a grin. "The vampire clans and the Wendigo are joining forces for this year's Hallowe'en. We're practising flying in the snow-storms they're going to create!"
"Lucky you," said Beth gloomily. "I'm jutht going to grow to thicth timeth my normal thithe and weight and thtep out of the thadowth and ask riddleth. If my victimth can't anthwer them I'm going to eat them."
"That sounds like like fun," said Jermander sincerely.
"I'll be picking boneth out of my teeth for weekth afterwardth," said Beth. 'Oh well, at leatht I pathed math already."
"Already?" Jermander looked surprised; the exams weren't until December.
"I ate Madame Prantith when thee couldn't ecthplain where the contour integral actually went."
Jermander burst into delighted laughter.

morganna said...

Sorry this is short, I'm in a hurry this morning.
Up in front is the place to be
Huge lecture hall, hundreds of students
Might as well be a private lesson
For the ones up front.

Mirko said...

Emanuel looks out into the lecture hall. In front of him, 150 to 200 first year students staring at him in anticipation. They are waiting for him to open his guest lecture, which the professor has announced a couple of weeks ago, with anticipation.

Taking his place behind the dark cherry oak speakers' podium, with the microphone attached and turned on, ready to receive his words and transmit them to the speakers attached to the classroom's ceiling, he places his notes neatly on the podium. He looks up and his smile beams out to the entire lecture hall. As he continues to smile, his eyes begin to wander, from the student who slept in and decided to walk into class with a sweater and pjs on, to the student twirling his pen around his fingers, to the neatly dressed elderly female sitting close to the classroom doors with red exit signs painted above them. It is so quiet in the lecture hall, you could hear a pin drop, all eyes fixed on him.

He looks down on his notes, his eyes begin to scan the first line. He can read his hand writing, and knows these are the words he wrote down in preparation for the talk just the evening before. Words which will inspire students and give them tools for the rest of their academic career and beyond.

But his tongue and lips seem to have gone to sleep. The words seemingly hovering on his lips, and no matter how hard he tries to let the words roll out, his lips feel glued to each other.

His eyes lift and stare at the microphone, and then at the professor who smiles at him and waits for him to say something. The feeling of having stood there in front of the class for an eternity rolls over him. His eyes catch and rest on the professor's hand motions, motioning, encouraging him to start saying something. Anything.

He could sense that students were beginning to become impatient. He could hear voices emanating from students sitting to his right. He thought he had heard "will he ever begin to talk?" before his eyes began moving again.

He looks back at the professor, looking for and trying to remember the words that would introduce him to the class and serve as the beginning of his anticipated talk. His eyes fixed at the professor, he remembers a little trick, which he read a long time ago, before he became famous and notable for his talks, in a book on 'how to deliver presentations' and that even the best professors and lecturers are using it to keep their nerves in check and remain concentrated on their lectures.

He remembers the book's author recommending to select one person in the room to concentrate on and to make eye contact with. His eyes don't leave the professor anymore, instead interlocking with hers, and he hears himself beginning to speak. The very first words he hears himself saying, and despite being different from what he had rehearsed begin the lecture and a sigh of relief overcomes him. "Hello, my name is Emanuel, and I am here to speak to you about how to deliver presentations to a large group of people as part of your final project in this communication class."

Penelope said...


“I think that her credibility has been demolished,” proclaimed a self-satisfied Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, at the end of his interrogation of Anita Hill during U.S. Supreme Court judge Clarence Thomas’s nomination hearing in October 1991.

The college’s fall semester was barely underway, and we students were riveted to TVs that the school had placed in the cafeteria, the commons, and other public areas around campus.

Yes, TVs!

It was decades before DVR, smartphones, DVD, Twitter, Facebook, and iPads, and really the “Internet Highway” was at that time just an interesting concept that we really couldn’t fully grasp. We’d have to see how this whole “computer thing” panned out.

Anyway, we were liberal arts students at an all women’s school in a Midwestern town. Anita Hill’s accusations outraged us, but the composed manner in which she faced the all male Senate Judiciary Committee inspired us, and we knew certainly, without a shadow of a doubt, we were for Anita Hill. We watched and we discussed and we stood solidly behind her.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, livestock will be another adventure entirely.

Ah, I have missed our dear students at Gorillamumps! The little aside about Beth's weight was my favorite part :D

Morganna - short is always better than nothing at all :)

I don't think I ever sat up front by choice, by I can see the appeal of it now.

Mirko - great details in this one. Combined with a light touch on the description of his feelings make this a very relatable scene.

And a great twist at the end as well - I certainly didn't see that coming :)

Penelope - jeez, I hadn't realized that was so long ago already. Definitely interesting to hear a new perspective on that time.