The most serious disillusionment in my life (apart from the false promise of young love) occurred when I was a student at the University of South Florida. It was during that year or two that I somewhat miraculously stumbled upon the notion that I wanted to be a writer. Only a sophomore and with a brand new major (having selected, then rejected, anthropology, philosophy, and psychology), I had somehow slipped by the guidance counselors and had enrolled in a senior’s creative writing workshop. I suppose because it sounded far more enlightening than Composition 101. It was in that casual setting that I came face-to-face, in the most humbling, shocking way, with some truly brilliant young writers. I especially remember a young woman, rather unattractive with frizzy hair and a dumpy appearance, who was already being regularly published in the school’s literary magazines, and whose work elicited gasps of appreciation from the others whenever she stood to share her latest musings. I was as in awe of her poetic solitude as everyone else, yet I bravely followed these future poets and novelists with my shaky and disjointed broken prose. On occasion, I was ok; more often I was just young. A month or two into the class, that the teacher took me aside and said that although I showed promise, I had no business being in a senior workshop, having only just that year declared the major. He couldn’t understand how I was even allowed to enroll, yet I do recall he was trying very hard to be gentle. He explained the necessary prerequisites, and told me that he looked forward to seeing me again, after I had completed them. He didn’t want to discourage me, yet with my fragile opinion of myself, discouraged I was, and I didn’t write again (except for required class papers) for some six or seven years. When I did, it was for the silliest of endeavors, as editor and publisher of a David Bowie newsletter.

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