In fourth grade, my teacher had a conferrence with my parents. She told them that, though I far surpassed my peers in reading skills (I learned to read froma King James Version Holy Bible), I was entirely incapable of articulating a written sentence. Just in speaking, I could phrase things and ennunciate things in a more mature manner (I have been cursed to be an old lady in a young person’s body), but according to this teacher, I was not able to, and would likely never be able to, write a complete thought correctly. My spelling was wretched, my grammar was dismal at best, and forget about a focused topic. Keep in mind that this was fourth grade, so the topics weren’t that difficult. She told me that she would give an A for effort, and to just do the best I could. Even at that age, I knew she had given up on me. She believed me incapable of learning from her and believed herself incapable of teaching to me.
In the end, the trick is on her. (Mwahahahahahhahaaaaaa)
As I’m sure you can tell, I am perfectly capable of writing. If you’re a follower of this blog, you already know my incredible passion for storytelling and poetic devices. So what changed? I discovered creative writing (I also discovered that I hated teachers and would do anything I could to make them look wrong or stupid). Call me a horrible child, but that’s how I was (still am, to a much lesser extent). I realized in ninth grade that writing was what made me happiest; I get so much joy from every word etched in black ink on a paper.
That teacher believed I was wrong in the most quintessential of ways that an individual can be ‘wrong’. She thought that I couldn’t write anything propperly, much less with new and inventive ideas. My later teachers (until ninth grade) also claimed my writing was (in much nicer terms) boring and predictable. Let’s get real for a second here: everything that you can say has been said before (excluding the rare cases of currently uninvented words). There is absolutely no character, no plot idea, no setting idea, no configuration of words that has yet to be discovered. To be called boring, even inderectly, is so terribly hurtful. Little me truly believed in herself, and to have teachers, respected authority figures, hate my writing was crushing.
For many Americans (sorry, I’m a GA public schooler, so I obviously know nothing about other nationsXD), students learn the terms “archetype”, “cliche”, and “trope” in the ninth grade. As learners, we are force fed the notion that our ideas are not unique; they have already been thought. Some, like myself, are taught to not even try, because we will always be horrible at writing. lt is during this crucial time period that young intellectuals become curiouser and curiouser regarding their own minds, and the implecations their thoughts have on the greater world. However, it is also during this time that these same people are told they are not good enough, especially the young writers. Every story is made of previously stated sentence; every sentence of previous phrases; phrases of previous words; words of previous letters; letters of previous ideas. Our characters are not new, our plots are redundant, our attitudes, though optimistic, are trampled.
For young adults, it is now more important than ever to regard these oh-so-boring combinations of ideas as revolutionary.
The magical thing about words is not the order in which they are presented, but the intent with which they are expressed. For me, each and every word of my writing is a declaration of independance, of inspiration, of love for the art of writing. I hope, for the sake of all, that my readers feel the same.
For too long, the intellectual curiosity of many young men and women regarding writing has been stiffled. They are not permitted to explore, to create, to discover, or to improve. Maybe, just maybe, this new generation of writiers, can be called upon to fix that. Today, I’m not asking for a lot. All I hope is that you will never tell a child they are incappable. Especially with writing, never tell an interested child the should not try. Never allow your expectations to narrow the limits of their view. Please, for the children who were us, lift them up and nurture their interest.
Also, screw all of my gosh darned English teachers who said I couldn’t write.