So I’m sure people wonder what drives us writers ot be writers and teachers to be teachers. Well, it all starts with a role model. My writing role model and my teaching role model are two different people.
The first day of my creative writing class, which I took in my senior year of high school, only because I couldn’t get it before then, I met a woman who looked to be a sweet old lady, but was treated to a rude awakening when I gave her my first piece of writing. It was a sonnet that I wrote in about 45 minutes. I handed it to her, sweating bullets, as I’d been warned by others that this teacher was cruel toward students’ work and lived to torment and belittle any budding author. She looked at the poem for a second, and then ripped it up, right in front of me.
I was devastated. I almost refused to go to class the next day. But I decided that a cranky old writing teacher wasn’t going to ruin my love of the subject. So, I came back the next day, walked up to her in the beginning of class, and told her she could rip up everything I gave her, but I was going to stay and learn to write whether she liked it or not. I put on my best face of resistance and waited for her to come at me with a rude remark, but instead she smiled kindly, and said “That’s the kind of motivation I’m looking for.”
From that moment on, I worked intensely for her and showed her everything I wrote, good or bad. She would flat out tell me that she hated a piece, or that she liked it, and ultimately what she thought I was best at writing. I told her I always wanted to write tragedies and dystopian pieces, as I like tragic literature and depressing stories. She told me I should write comedy. I have written mostly comical pieces up to now, but hopefully over the years I’ll become skilled enough in storytelling that I can write a dark tragic story.
When I graduated, she made me a bracelet out of rolled paper beads she had bought from Africa. I still almost never take that thing off. I feel my writing is best when I wear it, I keep the essence of the Crazy Writer from Hell on my right hand at all times. I also wear it whenever I’m student teaching, my hope that a student will ask me about it, and then I can tell them about the amazing teacher who made me cry the first time I met her. People are full of surprises.