In high school, 11th grade, I had to write a fiction story. It was a college prep class so we wrote a lot that year; essays, poems, stories. It was before I’d learned to type and there was no laptop to make the work go more quickly. Paper and pen, neat cursive writing, the story took up at least eight or ten pages.
As is often the case, the instruction was to “write what you know”. I don’t recall the exact content, but I recall using my family–a fictionalized account of some tragedy or other. As I wrote, the words came easily, my hand could not move my pencil as fast as the thoughts came together in my head. I wrote until there were no words left to put on the pages.
The teacher’s comments on my style and feeling impressed me enough that I thought, “I could be a writer”. The “A” that graced the front page when the teacher returned the assignment was icing on the cake. I kept that story well beyond high school graduation. I brought it to college with me and worked on refining it. I couldn’t tell you where it is now.
The feeling that I could write, that what I have to say could matter for someone else, has not waned since that “A” grade, although it’s taken a while to find its way back to the surface of my thinking. It’s probably why I started blogging on an “off day”; I didn’t wait for the first of the month or the New Year’s Day. The feeling became overwhelming on a random Sunday afternoon.
He’s long-since retired, I’m sure, so today’s thank you goes out to that English teacher from 11th grade who saw something in my writing and planted the seed that’s finally blossomed in this blog.