I think I’ve told you that, as a child, I wanted to be any number of things from professional concoction maker to rock climber extraordinaire. My first real big dream was to become a writer, or more specifically, a published author who could make my living from my writing. Strangely enough, I think my yearning to write came from the most unlikely of sources – my fourth-grade teacher.
“That’s not strange at all!” You might argue. “Teachers are the light of the world! They are supposed to inspire you!” And, while that may be true in a perfect society, this teacher was NOT one of those.
She was mean. She was cruel and sarcastic. Worst of all, she was a bully. It was in this class that my teacher would gleefully announce my spelling test grades to the class, “23 out of 24… WRONG! Class, please laugh at Heather” Everyone laughed in the vain hope that if they laughed loud enough they would not be next. My best friend in the class was dyslexic, and nearly every day, she would lift the lid of her desktop and hide her head inside while she cried silently after whatever tongue- lashing she had just endured from the teacher. It infuriated me.
It was true – I was an abominable speller, but none of the ridicule she dispensed to me, or my compatriot did an ounce of good towards our improvement. There was, however, one way I could force her to respect me – writing.
Each week, the teacher would write five or so titles on the board, they were usually alliterative in nature, and sometimes wacky. The assignment was always the same – write a story revolving around one of those titles, and on Friday, they would be read aloud to the class for a vote. The first prize was green jelly spearmint leaf candies; second place was stale potato chips or pretzels. Anything after that got nothing. Week after week, the class voted. Week after week, she was forced to grit her teeth, pry open the metal tin, and let me take my spearmint leaf candy. I still love those candies! She could not deny me in those moments, and I pursued short story perfection with a vengeance born of humiliation and determination.
That extended exposition was to introduce the idea that my love of writing only grew from there, and from that, my dream of becoming a writer. The dream never died, but was put on the back burner since almost all of my writing and reading revolved around my teaching for the next 20 years.
As you may know, I was hit by a drunk driver a couple of years back and had to give up my teaching position. In the time I’ve been home, I began writing again. My daughter occasionally reads my blog and suggested I publish a story she read about in one of my posts. So, this weekend, I published my first short-short story on Kindle. The book I’m writing is in the revision stage and, I promise you will be the first to know when I publish. Baby steps to BIG DREAMS 🙂
What baby steps have you taken?