Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Learning the Hard Way by Eve Dew Crook

Learning the Hard Way

Cyn Westland, my heroine in Taking the Tumble, is embarrassed in an experimental grad school class when she can’t make herself fall backwards into her professor’s open arms. This did happen to me. My mortification was so great that the incident remained in my memory and formed the core of my novel.

Another weird class experience occurred when, as a college freshman, I enrolled in an Art Appreciation class. The instructor was eager for us to have a hands-on experience, so our end-of-term project was to sculpt a large bar of Ivory soap. I had never shown any ability to draw more than stick figures, and I worried about this project for quite a while.

One winter day, on leaving my dorm, I noticed a large tree on campus whose branches spread out in an intriguing pattern against the blue sky. The tree was leafless, and I had no idea what kind it was, but I thought I’d carve an image of it into the soap as a bas relief. I worked hard, gouging out slivers of soap with a penknife, and when the time came to submit it, I was quite pleased with the result. It looked just like the real tree.

Our efforts were handed in, and the teacher pulled a large screen down over the blackboard and began projecting the students’ works. I wriggled in my seat, waiting tensely for my turn. At last, at the very end, the instructor said, “Here is one showing a fine appreciation for proportion in the abstract.” And she flashed my artistic creation on the screen—upside down!

Today I see her remark as a compliment, my frustration something to laugh about. Back then, I had to hold back my tears.

Eve Dew Crook
Taking the Tumble free on Kindle Sept. 24-28.
TWRP release date, Nov. 22.

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