Monday, February 20, 2017

A Significant Moment

The weekend was full of promise and adventure with the sunshine.  Now this wounded Monday is cloudy and already dragging me down with the load of things I should be doing but don't want to do.  But I will plow through it because that is just part of my personality and what not.

Today's prompt is a significant moment in my writing history.  This should be something interesting and telling about me.  Yet, I am having the worst time trying to figure out what that would be.  A lot of things have influenced me, but they are playing hide and seek in my memory to spite me and this prompt.  Darn those memory goblins.

I guess we will just have to take a look at my smaller days.  When I think back to when I was younger, I remember bending papers in half and stapling them together to form a book.  I drew pictures inside and wrote little blurbs of dialogue and descriptions of young animals, especially baby turtles, and the ever interesting fairies.  Back in those days, I was obsessed with fairies and thought they were roaming in the bushes behind my house.  What young girl didn't think this? 

What I remember prominently about these little books was that no one read them or paid much attention to them, which crushed a little piece inside of me.  Sometimes, people read them, told me it was great, and then left it on a table to later be thrown away with the rest of the junk mail.  I continued to make these little stories and telling relatives and friends about them to entertain and make them all laugh, but they all eventually lost interest.  That was hard to deal with, but I kept on writing my little stories because they at least entertained me.

In middle school, my love of stories was finally recognized in my first ever official English class with Ms. Merritt.  I remember in sixth grade how we did a unit on poetry and fairy tales.  We wrote poems in class and were required to read them out loud to everyone, whether you wanted to or not.  At the end of the unit, we all went up on a stage and read a poem we wrote to jazz music and everyone snapped for each nervous kid, no matter the content of the poem or its quality.  We documented all of the poems we wrote in hardcover books that we put together and shared them with the class.  To this day, I still hold that little poetry collection dear to my heart.  Another assignment we completed was writing a continuation of a fairy tale.  I chose Snow White's story and wrote about how rough of a time she had with her mother-in-law.  It was fun, and I enjoyed every minute of Ms. Merritt's class.  Before the end of my sixth grade year, she provided me with information about a writing camp for the summer and really made me feel like I had potential to be a writer.  I will always be grateful to her for this gift.

That is probably my significant moment.  The moment Ms. Merritt walked into my math class and singled me out for something that I would come to feel special by.  At that point when she came to Mr. Hasselquist's math class, we were just sitting at our desks, doing the assigned homework for the night.  It was the beginning of algebraic formulas and headaches to come.  She weaved through the clustered desks to reach mine in the last row closest to the window.  When she reached me, she knelt by my desk and handed me an envelope.  Inside it was information about a writing camp for sixth to ninth graders that was put on at one of the middle schools during the end of July to the beginning of August.  She told me she thought this would be good for me and she believed that, with a little more knowledge, I could be a writer. 

After all of that, I am here at St. Norbert College, studying English with a creative writing emphasis.  I hope she's not disappointed.  I think everyone who ever wants to do anything they love, whether it's writing, painting, or finance, they just need that one person who makes them feel like they can actually do it.  That belief and encouragement is powerful.

Many of my English teachers throughout middle school and high school helped further my confidence in writing after that pivotal moment.  I appreciate all of the teachings and guidance they provided.  To all of them, I give thanks.  I wouldn't have made it this far without you.

2 comments:

  1. I think you're right -- we all have influential teachers who inspire us to choose writing as a vocation. I'm still in contact with my undergraduate mentor, Jim Daniels, who continues to inspire me both as a poet and a teacher.

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  2. I'm so glad you had a Ms. Merritt in your life! It's pretty awesome whenever teachers go above and beyond to help out a student figure out what the heck this "life" thing is.

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