Last night I was walking in Southbank with some friends and I heard Katie Perry coming from a boat… that sounded like a school semi-formal to me. On closer inspection it was my old high school’s semi-formal. I spotted my old film teacher Derek Weeks among the sweaty dolled up teens, and decided to go up and have a chat.
Without Derek’s classes I’m not sure I would have gotten into writing, because I never would have chosen film as a degree. He was certainly a mentor to me at school, and his enthusiasm for film and story rubbed off on me- so I asked him for some advice and a story prompt.
It was then I remembered how frustrating (and genius) Derek’s teaching methods are: he always forces you to draw your own conclusions and (occasionally) he’ll let you know you got it right.
He wouldn’t give me anything, “I don’t know just go and live,” he said. So here’s my story:
Kit was an apprentice. He carved stone every day. At the end of every day the head artisan would look at his work and ask the same question, “What do you think?”
Kit never knew how to answer. He assumed if it was good, he wouldn’t ask that question, so he would pick out it’s flaws and try harder the next day.
On his days off, Kit would travel to see ancient carvings and take notes. Every day his work would get more intricate and more creative. He built towering structures that seemed to defy gravity and even perfected new ways to carve. But in the eve he was always met with the same question.
“What do you think?”
One day he cracked like an over chiseled stone.
“I don’t know how else to impress you!”
The artisan smiled.
“To be honest, I was impressed with your first ever carving,” he said. “But my opinion isn’t important, what do you think?”
Kit looked around at his constructions, as if he was seeing them for the first time.
“I think they are beautiful,” he said.