Someone (sorry, don’t recall who) posted an article on Facebook, which I actually read — a rarity! It’s a little bit of psychobabble and some hippity-dippity stuff about why most people don’t find their purpose in life. I think a lot of it was true, but more importantly, it lead me to a realization. I believe I discovered my purpose in life way back in high school. In Study Hall.
Study Hall was that glorious period of the day where you had no class instruction — you’d sit at a desk or a table (one year my study hall/study period was in the cafeteria) and you’d work on homework assigned in other classes or try to pass notes. Some would attempt to be disruptive, mostly out of boredom I suspect. I, of course, like the good student I was at the time would do homework, and prevent myself an hour of lost TV time at home — in my house, you could only watch TV if your homework was done. Some days, though, I’d have no homework to do. My time was split between two activities in those cases — reading a book or writing.
I still have those notebooks, filled with scribbles and doodles, but also with stories — stories about my friends, horribly bad poetry, a musical I thought I’d write about Death coming on his white horse and taking the dying to a huge party in the afterlife. I wrote “Star Trek: TNG” fanfic before fanfic was a thing you posted on the internet. I wrote an episode of Tom Baker era “Dr. Who” for my friends and I to film (but never did) — it was written in stage play style, because I didn’t know what a screenplay looked like. The local library didn’t exactly cater to budding screenwriters in Morton, Illinois. A half dozen notebooks full of dreams and stories and uninhibited lyrical fancy.
What’s interesting to me now, and why it occurred to me at all is I wondered why it seemed so easy to be so creative and prolific back then. Was it just my youth and my general ignorance and naivete about most of the world? We talk a lot about the intrusion of technology into our lives, but I can get distracted by doing crossword puzzles… no, I think the key to my writing success those many years ago — in study hall, there was nothing else to do. It was homework, read or, in my case, write. I wrote to escape the boredom. I was actually not much different than those kids trying desperately to disrupt the class, to escape their boredom; I just chose to disrupt mine on paper, foraging through my brain for any story that would entertain me for 50 minutes.
So, what did you do during study hall? Could it have been the way you found your purpose in life?
This post was written by Shawna Benson on January 28, 2014