Consulting with Wolves: The Tale of a First Visit to The Writing Center by Emily Favaloro

posted Nov 6, 2017, 3:58 PM by Writing Center
You called to make the appointment a week ago. Your calendar reminds you this morning and since then the anxiety has only increased. The building itself is intimidatingly hard to find and by the time the door slowly swings open you’re a minute late. It’s quiet. Eight in the morning must not be the most popular time to get judged. Because that’s what it is, isn’t it? Being judged on how good or bad you are at fitting words together? You turn to the desk tucked away in the corner and you’re greeted by a dog. She’s calm and sweet and politely asks you to fill out some obnoxiously colored paper along with some sort of contract but you resist a little, still unsure why your professor would recommend coming here.  

As you start to fill out the papers you hear a few growls of laughter. You find yourself looking over to the cubicles and meeting eyes with a cheetah. He gives you a small smile but is quickly sucked back into conversation with the pony, owl, and wolf sitting around him. It’s strange. They all look a little tired but genuinely happy. You think you would too if your job was to judge and not be judged. The door opens and a koala in bright leggings tells the dog good morning and you’re suddenly reminded of the papers in your hand. You quickly finish filling them out and hand them back to the dog. She gives you your copy of the contract and says, “Your consultant will be with you shortly.” You sit back down and wonder which one it will be. The dog gets up and hands the brightly colored paper to the wolf and you feel the anxiety bubble up in your chest. Great. 

You watch as the wolf makes a snarky comment at the cheetah before walking your way.

“Good morning! Come on back!” It’s cheery and frightening. The smile almost looks a bit forced but you’re not sure. Not sure about anything at this point. As you follow the wolf back to a small room with a few tables and chairs you watch as she accidentally knocks a few pens over and apologizes. You laugh a little and realize that the anxiety has calmed slightly. The wolf sits and gestures for you to take the chair next to her. You do and stare for a second before reaching for your bag to pull out the two copies of work you were asked to bring with you. The wolf gives you a genuine smile before asking you what you’d like to work on. You answer all the questions she asks about the assignment and your ideas and the whole time she’s reassuring you that she’s here to help you make sure you’re doing what your professor asked and expand on the ideas you have. You feel a bit of relief as she explains that she’ll read your work aloud and will walk you through anything that seems a bit confusing. As she reads the anxiety returns a bit as you wait to see what she marks and how much she marks. You’re surprised that after she reads through the first paragraph the wolf opens with a compliment. She praises you on your introduction but suggests making a few changes. As she explains the changes you realize it makes sense and that she’s saying exactly what you meant to say when you were writing the damn thing. She smiles at you as you explain to her that’s what you meant, and she reassures you that you were on the right track.

For the rest of the session you find yourself laughing and feeling much more at ease with both the assignment and the wolf. You realize you aren’t being judged and that this is really just a conversation, talking out your ideas and having someone to tell you whether they make sense. The suggestions on how to make things clear are helpful, and you feel like you have enough time to make the changes she recommends. The wolf suggests coming back if you have time and you genuinely consider it, no longer anxious about coming here. She thanks you for coming in and politely walks out of the room with you. You thank her for the help and walk to the desk feeling confident enough to make a follow up appointment. You look over at the wolf and she’s smiling at something the owl said. You ask the dog for available times and when the appointment is booked you leave feeling comfortable and ready to work.

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