Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Origin of the Species

Me on my second birthday

I know I always loved books (aren’t I adorable and oh, so, happy?) I remember writing before the age of ten, but I started thinking of myself as a storyteller in the sixth grade.

Fifth grade had been traumatic and chaotic. As a newbie in an already begun school year, I floundered. The teacher had no control over the classroom (he took a "vacation" after Thanksgiving.) Mean girls picked on me. Valentine’s Day and Christmas were horrors of no cards and no gifts during the exchanges. I hid in the coatroom any chance I got.
Sixth grade at Garfield East Elementary renewed my love of school. Mrs. Block was paradise. She knew what she was doing. She kept us in order, taught us the basics and gave us a social studies assignment that I’ve never forgotten.
We had to pick a place in the world and travel there (in our imaginations and through research.)
"Write a term paper about your visit," said Mrs. Block.
I chose Mexico City and I built a world inhabited by characters. I included timeline, budgets, descriptions of locations, weather, food. I wrote about the people I met and our conversations.
I got an A and the best compliment. “I feel like you were really there,” said Mrs. Block. “The details and your story made it all very real for me. It was a pleasure to read your paper.”
I fell, hook, line and narrative.

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  1. Books and writing take us to the land of joy,hard work sometimes in the writing but never in the raeding

  2. Very cool. That's the sort of thing that instills a lifelong love of learning, too.

  3. Your sixth grade teacher was the polar opposite of mine. Mr. Lanum terrorized his students and insured that I would literally have anxiety anytime I was asked to write an outline for a story. He insisted that we write our outlines and follow them, but if the outline and the story matched too closely, he'd know we'd written the story first. It was devastating to me to get a failing grade on my story because he caught me doing this very thing. To this day, I can't make outlines for stories. I'll make notes, but never a formal outline.
    I was always such a sweet, obedient kid until this guy got hold of me. I hated him, so I played tricks like locking his file drawer and hiding the key. Nobody suspected me because I was this quiet mouse of a child.

  4. My first grade teacher hated my stories and told me so frequently. Luckily, I didn't like her and her opinion mattered not one wit to me. My aunt loved my stories and gave me a huge, ancient, Underwood typewriter. I pecked away happily, writing improbable story after improbable story. I still lean more toward fantasy than realistic fiction. Improbable suits me. Unfortunately, I have let my writing fall by the wayside. I am glad you have continued on, honing your craft.