Thursday, October 09, 2008
The Four Agreements
I have a screen writing class on Wednesday nights. My prof is a former lawyer turned Hollywood writer. He possesses the vernacular of a genius yet, thanks to 20 years in all boys schools and years in a profession where swearing is almost prerequisite, managed to pick up a sailor's tongue. The man wreaks of brilliance and I knew he could do so much better than the protruding prolificness of his four-letter-word vocabulary!
So it happened one night- towards the end of September. Class ended and I was gathering my belongings, seriously considering dropping the class. The thought came to my mind, if not now, when? If not you, who? (a reiteration from Sunday's meeting regarding Prop 8). How awkward to approach the professor about his word choices.
It was the first class meeting I had made a vocal presence, overcoming my shut-down defense mode. I had made an impression on the professor- he'd even asked my name. This helped me in initiating the conversation. He started with, "So how are you liking the course?" "Well, I like parts of it..." "Oh no just parts?" "Yah I can explain it to you once everyone has left." It's just the two of us now:
"This is really hard for me to say..." I trailed off.
"Did I do something wrong?" his voice was worried, sincerely. "Not intentionally or maliciously," I replied, trying to ease his mind. "It's just that it's hard for me to listen to swearing." He took a step back and raised his hand to his mouth.
"I am so sorry. I had no idea..." He continued, "I needed to hear this. I need to push the envelope of literacy. Do me a favor. If I slip, will you raise your hand? You don't have to say anything, just raise your hand and I'll know what you mean. We can even keep a tally going on the board. Should we involve the class?"
"If you want to..." "Let's see how we feel come next week."
His reaction was above and beyond anything I could have hoped for. I choked back tears of joy as I walked to my car that night.
The next Wednesday not only marked the start of October, but a renewal of all that is beautiful regarding this class. Not a single swear word left his lips! NOT ONE! It was wonderful. I was able to let down my guard and soak in the class content unconstrained. My trust, respect, and appreciation blossomed for this man.