Before the class commences, I ask another student if this is her first class with this teacher, and she says it is. I proceed to ask if all of the professors are like him. She asks me what I mean.
“Distracted.”, I reply.
She explains that this is her first class in the Creating Writing dept. and that she is a Technical Writing student. She is interning as an editor, loves it and never sees herself becoming a writer, and has no wish to become one.
I quiz her more.
The gist of her response is that the Creating Writing professors are basically all ‘flakes’. Not in so many words, but I get the point, although she would never admit or even realize that it was her perceived answer.
It reminds me of when I was at Sydney University studying Architecture. There was a Fine Arts Department, an Architecture Department and an Architectural Science Department. Each had their own levels of ‘flakiness’. I spent most of my time in Architectural Science. I wish I had been able to spend more time in the Fine Arts Department as Lloyd Rees (one of the greats of Australian Art) taught there. The level of disengagement between the departments is exemplified by the fact that Ross King who was associated with the Architecture department had two Lloyd Rees drawings of the building of Sydney Harbor Bridge in his office, and Lloyd was unaware of them.
Now I know that the English department is not one amorphous blob, and that if I don’t like the Creative Writing culture, others more suitable to my temperament (or personal ‘flakiness’) are available. If needs be, I have an alternate path forward.