Sunday, June 22, 2014

Becoming a Writer by Laurie Calkhoven

I was fascinated by books and stories from a very young age. I remember my mother giving my two sisters and I a choice between listening to her read a story and watching a television program. I voted for the story, and I was outvoted.  I also remember my older sister getting a set of Dr. Seuss books when she was learning to read and being desperately jealous that I couldn’t read them myself.  And of course there was the pride and excitement that came with my first library card.

I was a reader. That was established early on. I had a secret wish to be a writer, but I didn’t really believe that it was possible.  And then a teacher turned that around for me with a fifth grade nonfiction writing assignment. I don’t remember what I wrote, but it was definitely fiction.  My teacher, Mrs. Azzolini, pulled me aside and very gently explained the difference between fiction and nonfiction.  Then she told me that I was a good writer. Being a writer when I grew up was something I should think about.

Hearing someone, a teacher no less, say my secret wish out loud and tell me that it was possible was a magical moment. I didn’t wait to grow up—I went home and started writing a novel.  And I’ve never really stopped.

5 comments:

  1. I had a different sort of epiphany in 5th grade when my teacher told my mother I was smart enough to attend college...something that had not happened in our family before that. Isn't it wonderful how only one person can change to course of our personal history?

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  2. What a great teacher! Secret wishes said out loud...I love the sound of that. Do you remember the novel you wrote after that?

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  3. I love this, too. And interesting that you ended up being drawn to historical fiction - which involves both storytelling skill AND the fun that comes from the research called for by nonfiction. Lines blurred again! Yay for teachers who have no idea how much of a wonderful difference they can make.

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  4. Great post, Laurie! I can just hear that teacher and feel that magical moment.

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