Creative Non Fiction
Feb 5, 2014.
I wish I had remembered her name because she had changed my life.
University life for me in Vancouver in 2003 was chock-full of instrumental feminist instructors who exposed my enclosed underbelly of justice and dues. This particular mentor who I shall call Professor Life Changer, taught my most favorite class, Women Studies: Women, Food, and Culture, a course that examined the role of women and food through a literary lens. The course and instructor introduced me to the books Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Aphrodite by Isabel Allende. These two books and authors left an impressive mark on my heart and my soul that no other piece of literature had done before than or after.
Professor Life Changer also introduced me to the art of writing. Not just essay writing, which I had grown bored of, but deep, abandoned, emotive inscription. We wrote essays on everything that ignited my fire, from the beauty and treachery of food, the role of women as true nurturers, and symbolism of the kitchen as a breeding ground for revolution. I was captivated and in it for the long haul. I had taken my first step into my true self. This class was the first chapter to my real life story.
My last assignment for this class was my first time being published, well kind of. The class was to individually write a piece integrating a recipe, much like Allende did in Aphrodite, and the Professor would put it together into an anthology for the class. Mine was called The Dynamite Roll and I utilized the ingredients and assembly of the Dynamite Roll as a metaphor for my tumultuously exciting and tragic existence at the time. She asked me to read it to the class. Once finished, everyone applauded. I had never been applauded to after reading something I had written in class. I took it in, and it felt great.
When I was leaving the class on our last day, Professor Life Changer took me aside. “I think you should get this published,” as she handed me back my assignment. I kind of stopped and stared, perhaps with my mouth wide open. All I could get out in response was “Okay.” I probably should have said more, but I was taken aback, stunned really. I had never, ever considered myself good at anything, let alone writing.
Those words have not left me since that day. I have shifted my life towards the art of the written word. My words have become stronger, more coherent and full of passion, fun, and rage. I have been published, and continue to work on publishing my first novel. And on the front page of that novel will be the words, “For Professor Life Changer. Thank you for telling me that I am good at something.”