how do you do it?
my mind is clicking, zipping, changing channels.
do you know how many ideas i have?
when i was in college i was in a poetry class. the nice teacher had a rule: you had to meet with her 2x after class throughout the semester.
the first time i went in there i said, i love your class. she said youre a very good writer. i said thank you! she said but you’re barely getting a B minus. i said, thats actually higher than i usually get in school.
she asked, well hopefully your final will improve your grade. is there anything you wanna talk about?
i said, yes, i have just written a 15 page poem about a girl i made out with over summer vacation. and i would like you to help me with the structure because it changes tempos and styles on every page like a crazy person.
and i gave her a rough draft of The Stamp which, among other things, tries to explain why time flies when youre having fun.
she sat there and read it and laughed and took a red pen to some of the first few pages, but then put it down on page 3 and just read.
when she was done she said, tony i want to ask you something. you halfway through your junior year. there is an exclusive college that i normally teach in where there are no grades, no tests, no finals.
you could write as many 15 page poems you want and not have to worry about B minuses or C plusses.
but it will take you a quarter or two for the approval process to allow you in.
would you be interested in staying at ucsb for two more years with no grades, or would you like to spend the next year and half with grades?
i said, before i answer that, i have a question for you. you say this is the college of creative studies.
i have always wondered about creativity, i said.
she perked up.
i asked, does it go away as you get older? most of my favorite musicians seem to lose their magic after their first few albums.
she said, it never goes away if you practice.
and she said, not tom waits not elvis costello not bob dylan not coletrane or miles not bach
and i would wager, tony pierce will be writing epic love poems until he dies.
that teacher still follows me on facebook and that may be the greatest gift of all.