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[caption id="attachment_273" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Harry Crews teaching class. "][/caption] When I was a student at the University of Florida, during the fabled Nixon Administration of the mid-seventies, I took a creative writing class taught by Harry Crews. It was an odd job for Harry, a novelist who wrote in his lauded autobiography that he himself had gone to college (on the GI Bill, after being a Marine in Korea) not to be taught how to write, a skill he thought ill-suited to the classroom setting, but to buy time to teach himself how to write. You can imagine what it's like being taught by a teacher who doesn't believe he's teaching something that can be taught. I think if Harry had been teaching us how to swim, he would have thrown us in the deep end and yelled, "Flap your arms!" Too meek and incurious to give him what he was looking for, I submitted to poor Harry immature short stories that had nothing real to say about anything. The stories read well, because fate had handed me the ability to string words together into pretty sentences. But taken as a whole they were cowardly and incredible, as empty as an abandoned warehouse. A testament to the weakness of those first test flights, I remember none of them, not even a little bit. I remember Harry, though. He had a weathered, scowling, Charles Bronson face. As a dirt-poor child of the Great Depression, he'd fallen into a vat of boiling water meant for a hog, but his rough-hewn features were more likely the result of hard living accented by frequent bar fights. Intolerant to boredom, he advised us, "If your life bores you, risk it. " He wore the same baggy jeans and baggy shirt to every class. Despite his unquestionable talent, he'd not become (and would never become) a super-famous writer whose formulaic books became lucrative blockbusters. Lipitor 80mg pills $239.00 he wrote about things that he needed to write about lipitor 80mg pills $239.00, not about things that would make money. (His most successful book at the time he was my teacher was about a guy who ate a car bit by bit. Harry had loved and, later, hated cars. ) As an eighteen-year-old kid, I was awed by Harry. I was also unaware of his doubts that writing was something that could be taught. (He'd not yet written his autobiography. ) On the contrary, I expected he might be able to teach me how to write in one semester. The truth was that he didn't have much to say, maybe because he was so sure it was impossible to teach writing, especially to wide-eyed undergrads, most of whom hadn't been in a single fistfight in their whole life. Harry's Gospel had but one commandment, and he preached it to me and to the rest of the [lipitor 80mg pills $239.00] class over and over and over until I thought I would weep with despair. "Tell the truth. Be honest, " he would say. "If you don't, your readers will smell it. They're not stupid. " (In the interest of truth, intelligent reader, let me disclose that this was so long ago that I have no idea what Harry's exact words were. The essence of it, though, was "cut the bullshit. ") On the strength of my musical sentences, I managed a C in Harry's class. I don't think I ever satisfied his demand for truth, but I think he maybe saw something in me and didn't want to crush it entirely. Or maybe C was the lowest grade he gave anyone because he didn't want to be responsible for crashing someone's GPA, not for failing a subject that can't be taught. Or maybe I gave him some false hope I was not entirely hopeless when, in desperation, I wrote a story not from my paltry imagination, but from an event that had actually happened. Now, more than a quarter-century later -- now lipitor 80mg pills $239.00 that I'm finally feeling courageous enough to write truthful fiction freely -- Harry Crews and his Gospel of Truth comes to mind. I don't think he's reading me anymore, but on the off chance that he is I hope he'll give me an A this time.