We are always inspired to do something , by someone. Once, when I was little, I was inspired to cut my doll’s hair because my mother was a hairdresser. I wasn’t very good at it, but it was only my first cut. It wasn’t my last. All through my life I was inspired to one thing and then another by other people- good and bad.
But, I want to pay tribute to the woman who taught me to love writing enough to become an author. Jean Howard, my eleventh grade English teacher was my inspiration. We all thought she was weirdly magical somehow. The way she dressed, the way she talked, really just everything about her. She was somehow mysterious in a way.
We would all find our seats at the beginning of class and open our journals and begin to write for a good twenty minutes or so. We were required to write a journal and we could write about whatever we wanted to. It might be a story, something that happened at home, our pets, whatever came to mind, really. She read each and every one and she always commented in mine. You see, I have never liked to capitalize the letter I. I could not make a decent looking I in cursive and so I opted to make small I ‘s when I wrote about myself. Once , she asked me why I didn’t capitalize my I.
She asked me ,”Don’t you know you are worth capitalizing?”
I saw the capitalization in a whole new way. I wrote her back and told her I didn’t like to because the ones I made were not very good and I didn’t like making a capital I. I did not begin capitalizing that I for a long time. I understood and took her comment to heart and I knew I was worth capitaalizing, but I still couldn’t make a good capital I. Even now, I don’t capitalize a cursive I unless I have to. Now typing, that’s a different thing. I do capitalize them now. When I do, I remember her words.
She told me once I was a good writer. I loved writing and I kept journals for years after I got out of her class. Sadly, in a manic mood swing, I began cleaning the house and I threw them all out. I could say , “what a waste,” but it wasn’t. It prepared me to write professionally and I am so thankful for her guidance , patience and understanding.
I wish I had a photo of her. I’m not sure where I packed my yearbooks away. She was a beautiful woman, inside and out …and a bit of an odd duck to boot. But then, so am i!