When I first thought up this challenge I visualized that I would be doing it just for fun (self torture?). Until a lecturer told me I should use it as an Honours project. Now I am in a class with lots of clever, talented people. Watching them all working passionately on their own projects makes me realise how blurred the boundary between peers and mentors really is. So I decided to ask one of these people for an idea. Her name is Morag and I don’t know much about her other than she has mad organising skills and a cool foot tattoo. She gave me the prompt “a mentor turning on a student” after telling me a short story about her own mentor.
The two bespectacled journalists would meet most nights. Graham would sit back thoughtfully as they discussed the intricacies of interview technique and the finer points of editing. All the while Jack’s notes would make indents on the next page; clear markers of his enthusiasm. Their favourite topic was how to crack the elusive case Graham had been working on for years.
On the day Jack was invited to accompany Graham to an interview, he sweated so much his glasses fell off and shattered. But something about his nervous energy charmed the interviewee. She sent Jack a full honest account the next day. Excited Jack showed it to Graham who merely nodded.
The two never saw each other again. Graham took the interview and published it as his own. Jack was left struggling to make ends meet interviewing dodgy plumbers for a local tabloid.
Years later Jack saw Grahams face staring at him from a cover in a bookstore. He walked into the shop and opened the autobiography. The acknowledgements read:
For Sweaty. I was blinded by greed. In the end, you taught me the biggest lesson.
The next day Jack received a huge anonymous check.