SKIPP’S LAST CLASS! LET’S HOPE IT DOESN’T SUCK!
(W IS OUT THE DOOR AT LAST; AND SO, ALAS, AM I)
by John Skipp
Dear beloved class and fellow faculty members –
Let’s take a moment to picture ourselves in that imaginary classroom amphitheater we’ve shared, at various points over the last several years. You guys are all up in the seats, for some reason, watching me yap about one thing or another; and I, for once, am poised to make some big emotional statement. Like, for instance, goodbye.
But it’s November 4 as I write these words, and we all just found out that Barack Obama is the Next Motherfucking President of These United States! (Speaking personally: WOO- HOOOOO!!!)
Which means that everyone will be either out celebrating their asses off or lamenting the end of All Life As We Know It.
Talk about shitty timing for this little statement, huh?
But it sure does put things in, for me, a lovely perspective.
So here’s the deal. I love you guys and gals, and love what we do here at Storytellers Unplugged. I’m proud of have helped at least one new writer get published, and proud to have been invited into this community of fine minds, inspiring each other.
I remain a part of this community.
But I gotta go focus on the work at hand.
To the extent that I have ever been a teacher, I teach largely by example. Sure, I have theories about all this shit – how stories work, how publishing works, and the practical applications of a life devoted to inhabiting creative experience – but the proof is in the pudding (or lack thereof).
Right now, I need to go make me some pudding. DELICIOUS PUDDING!
I hope you understand.
I also hope that SU will make it easy to find my SU archives, so that you all can peruse the stuff we’ve already done. Most of it will hopefully ring as true today as it did then.
I’m fiercely proud of the time we’ve spent, and the many fine writings you’ve contributed to my near-monthly doodads and exercises. Plus, I had fun, too!
I’m also pretty confident that there’s another teacher out there who will actually show up for every class, provoking fresh things out of those of you who are genuinely here to learn.
As I recall, I was recruited to fill in when Douglas Clegg and Brian Keene had to bail, for much the same reason. And though those were huge shoes to fill, I know for a fact that we have had us some fun.
SO KEEP THE LOVE ALIVE, brothers and sisters, boy and girls at play with the tools of wild wisdom. You are thinkers. You are dreamers. You are here to help make sense of this life, for yourself and for all who will listen. You are here to come to terms with your demons and angels, give voice to your vision, tell both the highest and lowliest truths you know in the service of honesty, accuracy, and genuine soul-sustaining bullshit-freeness.
Or maybe your vision isn’t quite so lofty. Maybe you’d just like to tell some stories, have some fun, make a couple bucks, and possibly get laid (or at least somewhat respected). That’s all good, too. Your writing is a calling card for who you are. You wrote it. If you sent it out, then it’s out. Let it do what it will.
Whatever the case, here we are.
So your last assignment is this.
WRITE ME SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, ABOUT WHY YOU LOVE TO WRITE. About what writing means to you. What you hope to achieve. What you hope to learn, have learned, or are learning as we speak. And why you do it instead of all the other trillion things you could otherwise be doing.
I’ll be checkin’ in, over the next couple of days, to honor this last official round of play.
Thank you for playing with me. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.
Yer pal and eternal booster,