Weekend Assignment #59: We've all had teachers who have made a difference in our lives. Tell us about one of yours. It can be a teacher from any level of education, from kindergarten to graduate school.
Extra Credit: Tell us your second favorite subject in schoool.
It was my senior year in high school. Her name was Mrs. Johnstone, and she taught Creative Writing. This was my first exposure to creative writing. I'd written a few short stories and a poem or two, but to be honest, really didn't think my writing had 'it.' You know, that certain something that makes one person's compositions stand out.
But Mrs. Johnstone saw 'it' in me. And she encouraged me to continue to write. With a gentle smile, and a few gentle words of encouragement, she opened the doors to a whole new world for me to explore. Yeah, I'd always loved the written word...I was a book worm growing up. Always had my nose in books. But write? Me? Sorry, writing was what other people did. Mrs. Johnstone...she had other ideas on that.
I liked her. She wasn't stuffy like my previous English teachers. She was relaxed and funny, warm and friendly, encouraging and inspiring. To me, she was the perfect teacher. And it was Mrs. Johnstone who took me aside one day and planted the writing seed in my brain. "You can do it," she said. "And I really think you should."
She is responsible for my decision to write my life story.
In the years that followed, I sometimes thought of and spoke of her. If any one teacher ever stirred inspiration in me, she is the one. Like a sculptor gifted with the ability to see beneath the solid layers, she summoned the essence that lied within. Awakening that which slept. I shall never forget her.
Extra credit: If Creative Writing was my favorite subject, my second favorite subject had to be art. I know what you're thinking. And yes, I am a closet artist, of words, and objects. If I needed to express myself and words failed me, I knew I could pick up a pencil and a piece of paper and draw. There was something soothing in the tangy smell of a freshly sharpened pencil in my hand, the sound of the lead dragging against the paper, the feel of my fingers rubbing and smudging those sharp, hard lines into shapely forms and silky soft textures. When I was creating, time just stood still. Even if I was just making a collage from magazine tear outs, I loved it. I was creating and I was in my element.
A little something in pencil, circa 1980-1981. It was a gift, to a friend. Now I wish I would have kept it, but at least I have several photos. This photo is a bit worn out and wrinkled, but you can see the work.