Miss Stebbins - Creative Writing



(Ep 41 - "Faith")

Still, for all his grumbling, on some level, Dad knew taxes were inevitable. Something you could depend on. Like, say...
(Cut to classroom.)
I want you to write your obituaries.
I think you'll find this very interesting. (Smiles.)
Miss Stebbins was teaching us creative writing. And we were learning that creative writing wasn't a book report, or "how I spent my summer vacation." Creating writing was...
The end of your life. What will they say about you in the newspaper?
(Harold raises his hand.)
Yes. Harold.
Which newspaper?
Any newspaper you like.
(She writes on the board.)
What did you do...what did you accomplish?
(Kevin leans over to Paul.)
What's the point of this?
Good question, Kevin! We became engaged in Captain Ahab's obsessive quest...we cried when Jane and Rochester finally got married...Why?
(Harold raises his hand.)
Yes, Harold?
Cuz they were dead?
Because...you cared about the characters. Now, how do we write a character? We start...with the one we got to know about first. Ourselves. Who are you, who were you, and where are you headed?
Faced with such profound and disturbing questions, one thought sprang immediately to our minds.
(Susan raises her hand.)
Yes, Susan.
How long does it have to be?
Oh...about a page.

(Back in class. Students are reading their papers.)
The world mourns the loss of a great poet, Susan Kelley, whose work made her lots and lots of money. (Smiles.)
(Peter proudly stands, wearing his Army shirt.)
The minute he got out of high school, he joined the service, to fight for his country! (Nods.)
After he won the Grand Prix...(nods)...there was series of empty relationships.
When he spoke...people listened!
She brutally murdered her little sister and was cleared of all charges. (Smiles.)
Chapter seven, age thirty-six.
(Peter has his head tilted back, bored.)
"The Harvest Ripens". Poised on the very cusp of young adulthood...
(Kevin sighs and looks off.)
I venture forth from the secure hallways of academia...and into the cut-throat world of opthamology.
(Miss Stebbins is looking out the window.)
Before the age of forty, I invent the strapless sport spectacle.
Thank you very much, Paul. But we have to have time for everyone. Now! Who's next? Kevin? How about you?
He was born of humble parentage, and grew up living a simple life. He served several years in the Virginia legislature, then went on to become President of the United States. (Smiles.)
There! Short-and-sweet. Honest. To the point.
That was very nice, Kevin...
(Kevin smiles.)
That was also George Washington's life.
(The class giggles.)
Now, I suggest...you get a life of your own, and write about it.
Well, Miss Stebbins...(frowns)...it's just that...(nods)...I'm not sure I'm ready to write about my life, yet.
I understand. (Nods.) In that case, you may have over the weekend...turn it in on Monday. Right?
Right. (Smiles.)
Alright, Harold - your turn.
Kevin Arnold. He lived a good life. Until he got this writing assignment.

(The Apollo 13 astronauts are in danger of not getting back to Earth alive, and Norma has lost the tax receipts. Now, Kevin is at his desk, writing his name on the paper.)
As I looked at that blank page, I knew that whatever I wrote would be a lie - or at best, a wild guess. It didn't matter. Whatever life lay ahead of me - a life of hope, of possibility, of uncertainty - I felt sure I knew what it would take to survive. I guess what I'm saying is...for the first time, I understood that somethings are bigger than death and taxes. Like family. Like faith. I could only hope Miss Stebbins would understand, too.

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11/27/14 20:00