I knew I was a writer at age 9. Before that, I was a mediocre student who spent my time between assignments engineering the perfect spitball. At 9, I met the teacher who would change my life.
Mr. Curlee seemed nice when we first met at open house, but they all started out that way. Halfway through the year they all realized I did the bare minimum, then they became critical of all the work I did. But enter a new teacher with a new agenda. Creative Writing. Every morning started with writing in our journals. He would give us the daily topic and told us to write. Just write. It took me a while to get the hang of it, free writing wasn’t something previous teachers had promoted, but then I was hooked. We wrote about our dreams, our lives, even fiction was promoted. That was when I decided that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Every piece of writing I handed in was returned with positive feedback (another first for me), and it fueled my desire to sit with a pencil and pad of paper for the rest of my life.
I wrote my first novel at 10 (about a girl and her Pegasus), my second at 12 (about time traveling siblings), and then I spent my teenage years writing poems and short stories that got me into writing conferences sponsored by the school district. I took the mentorship program in high school with a resident writer at North Hennepin Community College. I took writing classes in college. In my mid-twenties my writing took a backseat to life events. Working, Marriage, and raising children consumed my life, as did the hobbies I started to acquire. Before the birth of my fourth child, I attempted the Novel in a Month challenge. I did it! But that first draft stayed in a drawer as I let myself be swept away in the busyness of raising my babies.
It wasn’t until four months ago that I started writing fiction again. I often wonder why I stopped writing. Writing has gotten me through a lot of tough spots in my life. It is cheaper than therapy, it is more fun than a movie, you are never alone when you write, and it is the only time I am confident with who I am. I know I am a writer because that is when I am happiest and the most fulfilled.
I was introduced to the person who would change my life at an early age, a person who introduced me to something that gave me purpose and hope. I was lucky. If not for this one teacher in my life, would I have ever found out that I am a writer? How many people have never had a person in their life who encouraged them to do something that they love? I am a writer. It is a part of me, I would say it even defines the person I am today.