I have always loved to read and write. Last semester I was spending a weekend at my Grandma’s house and she brought up a plastic tub from the basement filled to the brim with my childhood work. Half of it was artwork. I was a particular fan of the “paint” application on Microsoft Word 2003; out of the tub I took with me a pink dinosaur that my Grandma told me I drew with the mouse in 12 seconds flat. The other half were writings, stories and poems of all kinds (and even a script for me as a sports anchor, detailing how far I had thrown the shot put). My favorite piece was a horror story, featuring a ghost baby that appeared in a family’s foyer and they hid behind an umbrella stand. It was complete with illustrations. My point is, I started playing with language when I was young and I never stopped.
During high school this love of mine further solidified through a wonderful high school teacher. Her influence on me is detailed in this blog post of mine that describes five moments of learning that shaped me into the person I am today. In her class I read and wrote voraciously. Books like Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and Unwind by Neal Shusterman were taught by her, as were all kinds of papers— research papers, analysis papers, poems, descriptive essays, personal narratives, short stories… the whole gamut. Each assignment was pivotal, in its own way. In addition, each assignment helped me to become the writer I am today.
Cue now to college, where my writing skills have been honed more than I ever thought possible. While I do not necessarily agree with all of the information I have been presented one way or another about the topic of writing, learning more about the craft has helped me realize just how important it is to embrace my role as a modern writer. Though I do have ambitions to publish a short story or two, one of my main roles as a writer is situated in my chosen career path.
As a teacher, I want my students to know that their ideas are truly important. If I don’t fully understand and appreciate the fact that my ideas are important it will be quite difficult for me to be sincere in my efforts to support the kids entrusted to me. In this day and age, the sharing of ideas is a continuous cycle. Technology being at the finger tips of many, with a few taps at a keyboard voilà— the work can be shared for the world (or a handful of lovely readers, such is the way on The Joyous Life of Jess) to see. Myself and my future students will have the same opportunity, to write towards the bigger picture (though, of course, journaling for personal desire has the means to achieve the same end). To me, being a writer means valuing one’s thoughts, ideas, and opinions as well as appreciating the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of others.
I wish I could thank little me for having so much fun writing “The Tale of the Little Brown Puppy” and “The Cottonwood Tree Ghost.” I wish I could tell little me how proud I am for creating characters like sisters Josie and Zoey or Clarissa VanCronmp. I wish I could tell little me how wonderful it is that I like to create. The foundation little me laid, and high school me continued to build on, have helped the me I am now to read and write like I do. All starting with Microsoft Word 2003 and a ghost baby. Now I just need to bring my paint skills into the modern age too.