My Mom was the first person to really introduce me to the world of books and words. It was a great Saturday morning when she'd take me to the James V Brown Library in Williamsport, PA and together we'd embark on collecting as many books as my arms could carry and then she'd whisk me away to the quiet upstairs where covers of handsome men (bare chested at that) would be holding their beautiful woman - and would just leave me wondering what the stories were about.
My Mom really encouraged me to learn how to read - she even sat me down a few times to try to help me - and always allowed spontaneous visits to the library to happen. I think was a vital part of me writing/reading development. It helped that I had great teachers in Elementary school, who allowed our minds to wander when we were given a project of writing our own books - but it was really the support I had at home.
Sadly, my Dad wasn't ever much of a reader. As I've come to learn, my Dad sort of struggled to read. My heart just saddens for my Dad in this - he was a great man in many things - But my Dad did support me in my hobbies. Perhaps the over-due library fee caused a bit of irritation (which now as an adult I completely understand. a dime is a dime - and it means even more when its more than just a dime if you know what I mean.) But I konw or at least hope - it brought him a lot of pride when I told him years later - I was going to be published. I had a lot of great teachers in my growth as a teenager.
My English Teachers really played a major part in my life as a writer and reader. While most kids hate English - I really enveloped everything. I adored reading classics and having writing prompts. I loved getting the attention that there was something about me that could be special. There was something about me that deserved their second glance on the page. I had a teacher in 12th grade that really pushed me - she really pushed me to do better. I had thought I had managed all of these 100 paged stories - and that should have qualified me as a writer - if not, the best in the class. I felt a bit entitled really - Why wasn't MY poem being chosen? Why was she picking on me?
You know what she did? She pushed me because she knew I could do better - and I didn't see her do that with others. She really played a role in my writing - and still to this day - I think of her and know she's the reason why I chose to go to school for Creative Writing. She's the reason why I still continue to push myself. Writing is never finished - Writing is always something that continues to be edited, reviewd.. edited, reviewed.. (Editing is something I hate with a passion, let me tell you.)
Susquehanna brought me something else. If anything, it provided me a way to hone on my skills. The Professors really urged students to write and make mistakes, but to really learn from them. To think about what you're writing instead of just feeling it. Allow the reader to feel something too - instead of just yourself. I suffer from that - sometimes I just get so caught up in what I'm writing that I don't really think about who might read it and if it makes sense to them -- until the editing stages.
Susquehanna took the little Muncy girl who wrote in her spare time and really made her realize what writing could do, and how unrealistic it is to "make it big" in the writing world. It's just simply not that easy. But that's okay. As long as you're writing what makes you happy - that's all that matters. The Directof of the Writing Program there now - Glen Retief - was really a huge role model for me. Sometimes, I truly miss being in one of his classes and getting more direction. I feel like now that I'm more focused on really trying to be a better writer - I'd appreciate and gain more insight on what I'm doing.
And that even goes for the teacher back at the Muncy Jr. Sr. High School.
So what about you? Do you have any people who have inspired you? Pushed you? Taught You?
I'd love to hear about them!