I remember when I first wanted to be a writer. I was a second grader in Mrs. Gregory’s class at R.C. Andrews Elementary in Floydada, Texas. The class was assigned the task of writing a story based on a series of pictures. Those pictures remain imprinted on my mind:
Frame 1: a little blonde girl stands on her porch looking at a kitten
Frame 2: the little girl gives the kitten a bowl of milk
Frame 3: more kittens come to the porch
Frame 4: the little girl gets more milk
Frame 5: more kittens are on the porch
Frame 6: the girl’s hands are in the air and she looks distressed
Mom saved the story and every so often I find it tucked away in the pages of an old scrapbook. I must have just become familiar with the idea of using a period because they are everywhere, especially where they don’t belong. After a brief battle with autocorrect I’ve successfully copied the story below. Note the spelling of “hungry” and the use of the word “fixing.” For your reading pleasure:
“Kathy and the Cats”
One day when Kathy was going for a walk. to look for her lost kitten Frisky. She had just walked out the door when she spotted her kitten. Then she said I bet Frisky is hungery. So she brought him out some milk to drink. She was just fixing to go in when. She heard something. When she turned around she saw more kittens. So she got more milk. And fed them. Then more and more kittens came. Then finally she threw up her arms and said I have more kittens than milk.
Mrs. Gregory, who really did not like me very much, had written “S+ Very-very good” in red ink across the bottom of my paper. Mom said, “You did such a good job! Maybe you will be the writer in our family.”
Now, for all I know, Mrs. Gregory might have written the same praise on every student’s paper, but at that moment I decided I was going to be a writer. I just had no idea what that meant. And, I had no idea how to find an audience once I was out in the world. Thanks to the advent of web logs (a.k.a. blogs) we can all have an audience.
So, I credit Mom and Mrs. Gregory for putting this writing idea in my head. And I thank you for being my audience.