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My creative writing teacher took us out for a walk in silence to look for images, things that might spark a short story. When we came back to the room, we went around and everyone said their image. When it was the teacher's turn, she described (this was in the month of May) some tulips a recent rain had knocked the petals off of. She said the tulips reminded her of prom dresses the day after prom.

It was such a wonderful metaphor--I felt the truth of it immediately. And I walked away from class thinking: "I want to learn how to do THAT!" In one brief instant, with one utterance, my teacher completely changed the way I looked at the world. What else was out there to find? What other connections could I make?

And, I suppose, the deeper lesson was that if my outlook on the world could change, could deepen in meaning, then so could I. What a thrilling possibility. To think that my sense of identity hinged on the attitude I cultivated, day by day, in how I chose to look at the world. Powerful.