The Creative Monster


In this Six Feet Under episode, Olivier is caught in unprofessional conduct by Claire and tries to buy her off with a grade of her choice.

I should be over something like this. As much as I can dwell on the whole MFA experience and what a racket it was, people like the Professor Joseph K are a joke. Unfortunately, my dealings with him and his self-serving behavior haunt me to this day. At the start, he was the mentor figure, the one who gave me admission to his inner literary circle. In the end, I got tossed aside. As much as he told people that they should do what’s beneficial to them as writers, he wanted people to take his workshops and tell him how brilliant he was for publishing his slender little volumes of deviant behavior. Regarding his writing workshops, there wasn’t much to get out of them. Publishable in his terms meant “I publish you, you publish me.” As a grad school friend of mine said, fiction could not create a villain as evil as Professor K.

As much as I may feel like I’ve forgiven him, the anger still surfaces from time to time. Personally, being cold shouldered by someone who once built me up hurts. The drama where he took his anger out on me for rejecting him took its toll on me creatively for a while in grad school. Who would think that taking another fiction workshop professor would be tantamount to saying, “Professor K, I’m blowing you off!” Looking backwards, there are infinite possibilities of what I could have done to have avoided being a casualty of Professor K’s unprofessionalism. Unfortunately, there’s no way to change any of that. Looking forwards, I do not need Professor K. I can’t really depend on the history. He is not someone I can count on to be  mentor, a reference, or even friend.

Perhaps if I stuck with Professor K, I might be publishing sick little volumes of my own, dwelling on the same kind of topics that caught his fancy. I could have easily used his name as a reference for my work with his university press journal, though I can’t say I’m completely proud of the work published during my tenure as his assistant or even before or after. I’m not sure if the potential benefits outweigh the price. This person inspired me to get caller ID for my landline phone several years back. This was pre-cell phone for me and it doesn’t speak well of him.

All that Joe is good for now is a character in one of my stories. I’m not interested in a literal novel about the grad school experience, so he may find his way in some other story. After all, I wonder what professor was the source of Sabul in Ursuala K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. Be warned, Professor. You are a fair target for my writing, whether in fiction or creative non-fiction.

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