This is another prompt from Susan Spann and this week she’s asking about our experiences in school.
Writing has always been one of my passions. When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to become a published author some day. From the third grade, my teachers have complimented me on my skill with the written word. I’d entered several competitions and I was accepted into the Talented and Gifted program at school on the basis of grades and word monkeying.
The other kids in the TAG program weren’t as thrilled as I was. While they built Lego cars with motors and wrote computer programs to make them run, I sat in front of my Mac and penned prose. While they wrote legal documents and played court, I acted as their stenographer. They wanted a break to have a pizza party, I ate from the desk with what I was sure was my first manuscript.
All of my schoolwork was either done in class or at home. When I was in study hall, I was reading the novels my future books would be based on. During one such “research” session, one of the TAG boys, the one who aspired to be class Valedictorian, stopped by my table. He stood over my shoulder, watching as I read a passage and then compared it to my hand-written manuscript. Slowly he leaned over and whispered in my ear, “You know, if you spent as much time on your school work as you do on reading those smut novels you might do better in school.”
My eyes rolled and I stared up at him incredulously. “What?” It wasn’t like my grades were bad. I did fine at school. I didn’t have straight A’s, but that wasn’t what I aimed for, either. I didn’t care I had a B in Algebra. I cared that I had A’s in English and creative writing. I wanted to teach. I wanted to write.
“You should concentrate more on your grades. If you worked more, you’d do better in school.”
“My passion isn’t algebra or science. It’s English and writing. Go away before I get in trouble.”
“You’ll never get anywhere in life with passion and creative writing.”
He wandered away after that, but his words stay with me to this day. When I’m published, I’ll take my first novel to our class reunion signed to him.