Yesterday my English professor sent me her critique and my grade on the final paper for my English Literature class. The last task was to write a thematic discussion on “The Glass Menagerie”. Those that included an extra page critiquing the school production that was coincidentally showing when the paper was due received an automatic extra 10 points on the assignment. My thematic paper was on the deception that weaves throughout the play and how the characters were “fueled” by it. My subsequent critique of the stage production was well thought out and probably a little harsh. Hey, I’m a gay man that’s been in plays watching a play, I have the right to be a little nitpicky.

The grade was stellar with a comment that boiled down to the following suggestion: “abandon your current major and become a college English professor.” My ego certainly needed that boost after the chinks I took in my armour yesterday. While I think the professor might have been getting a little ahead of herself, I really appreciated her feedback and sent her a follow-up thank you note. She told me to at least consider writing for the school paper. I’m seriously considering it for next semester.

I must admit that in the past I have toyed with the idea writing in some sort of semi-professional arena. I don’t know if I have the attention span to write a novel and I’m certainly not the next Shakespeare by any inkling of one’s imagination, but I do like writing little bits here and there from time to time. When I write I want people to chuckle. I like making people laugh. I think I’ve mentioned before that I would love to be the gay man’s Erma Bombeck.

I loved Erma Bombeck. Author of the syndicated newspaper column “At Wit’s End” and several books, Erma wrote about suburban life as she saw it; a married woman with a smattering of children living in the middle of a suburban housing project that could have been an old munitions testing field. She had a good-natured, humorous outlook on life. With her work obviously geared toward the housewife, Erma talked about her trials and tribulations of PTA meetings, cranky washing machine repairmen, kids that drove her crazy and a husband that watched a dozen or football games per Sunday. I read her books as a young teen and continued to do so right up until her death. I may not have been able to relate to her situation but I really appreciated her style of writing and her sense of humor. It wasn’t something that I wanted to emulate; no, her writing inspired me to find my own way of expressing myself. I don’t know if she ever saw herself in the ‘muse’ role.

So with the inauguration of winter recess starting at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow after that last math final (but really, who’s counting?) , I think I’m going to concentrate on doing a little self-expression through writing. I don’t know what I’ll find but I know I’ll enjoy the exercise. And at the very least, there’s no grade or critique at the end of my words.

But hopefully there’s a giggle or two.