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Along the Journey

Along the journey I began to notice more and more about my unique or as some would say, her different personality. I guess I always felt a little different but could not put a finger on why. Through elementary school, middle and high school I always gravitated to the creative arenas. I organized talent shows in my neighborhood, I took art classes, played the clarinet, continued to write skits and plays and became a radio announcer in high school. I could come up with ideas at a split second. I would write a play in a day, maybe two or three. This was second nature to me, to create worlds through words. I began a journey in the communication fields, where I assumed my creativity was a fit. So off I go to Emerson College in Boston, MA. A very distinguished communications college. My first year I was an Acting Major, too shy though. I think my second year, I was a Journalism Major, didn’t like the reality of real journalism. My Junior and Senior years I began to find my niche. I leaned more towards Writing and the more business side of Theatre. I decided to take scriptwriting classes and in my senior year I took an advanced scriptwriting class.

I’ll never forget the class was four hours on Wednesday evenings. The Instructor was a former writer for the now cancelled soap opera, Ryan’s Hope. So of course, I was excited to be in the class. We had in class writing assignments as well as homework. During the course of time, I began to notice, that all my writing assignments that I turned in were always laden with lots of red marks. I welcomed these corrections and suggestions because I wanted to be a good writer. I took every critique and really tried harder to implement them in my work. The more I tried the more red marks I received. I knew this was something I wanted more than anything to accomplish with flying colors, but that was not happening. Finally, in the last semester of my senior year our assignment was to write a full length script, a pilot, I think. I was like, ok, this is in my element because I desired to write a soap opera. In that day, I wanted to write the first Black soap opera. There were no soaps on air at the time that reflected a diverse cast, so I was eager to be the first. So off I go. The assignment was to write a full length script. A two hour pilot. One hundred and twenty typed pages. I accomplished that. If I remember correctly, not everyone turned in the assignment, but I did. Whew.

My Instructor read it and told me she would give me a C as my grade. Of course I was devastated. I thought I had something. I thought it was well written and more importantly, I thought it had good character development and a great plot. So, I didn’t understand why the low grade. She told me that it wasn’t written very well. I could accept that. She also stated that it was very unrealistic because blacks didn’t live like that. In stating blacks didn’t live like that, she was referencing the wealth of the characters. I guess my issue was, aren’t all soap operas unrealistic? Hmmm… As I was standing in line to graduate, we were handed our grades. To my surprise, not only did she give me a C, she gave me a C-. That particular grade not only hurt me but it caused me not to make the Dean’s List in my final semester. I thought because she was in the industry and had written for Soaps, that her critique of my writing meant I wasn’t good enough to make it as a writer. I was in my early twenties and thought maybe she was right. That my hopes of writing a soap opera, with black characters, were truly unrealistic…

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