My ego is quite large I suppose, for I have always fancied myself as a great writer. I haven’t always kept up with it and yet, I find myself returning again and again to the written word.
I remember 11th grade Advanced English class all too well. We had a student teacher that year, and she was excited and gung ho over teaching us. We had been analyzing “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Steven Vincent Benét, and we were to write an essay inspired by this story. I was sheer excited! I had been writing my own little love stories and whatnots in an old notebook, but this, this- unlimited creative outlet wherein I would get some feedback! I couldn’t wait.
Home I went, and got to work on my story. Mine was a Christian tale of soul vs. hell, and I was thrilled to share my new faith AND write a fictional tale that interwove the two. I dreamed and wrote, fantasized and theorized, and was finally prepared to dazzle this enthusiastic young teacher. We were allowed to read them to the class if we so desired before turning them in, and let me tell you – if you didn’t know me back then – that was usually a request of doom and despair. I would just as soon clean a truck stop bathroom as get up in front of people and speak! I immediately raised my hand and got up to read my story. I was just so proud!
The day we got them back I was so excited. My precious thoughts and creation, on paper! Surely I got an A+!! She gave them out, telling us how much she enjoyed reading our papers and that some of them were so exceptional that she put a tiny blue star at the top of the paper to let us know that she thought that those people should become professional authors. I couldn’t wait to see my blue star! After all, wasn’t this what I always wanted to be?
As you have already guessed, I didn’t get the A+. Neither did I get an A. And I certainly did not have a blue star at the top of my paper. I. was. absolutely. crushed. I put away my pen and notebooks and let that dream die. But I was young, full of life, and there were other interests to carry me along. Yet my soul has always longed for the dream that never made it, because some careless woman that was still in college didn’t like ONE story that I wrote! Ah, impressionable youth! How sensitive the 16 year old mind can be!
Let us fast forward along 32 years. I am now 48, full of failures and regrets, and back in school to advance my nursing career from associate degree to bachelor’s. I wrote my first paper last week and today I got my grade and feedback.
67.5 – big fat D
And 32 years fell away; my soul felt as exposed as the little crushed heroine in my long ago essay that was rejected.
Well, now. I am 32 years wiser. Honestly though? It made me want to quit. It made me feel that I am clearly not ever going to be the author I have ever wanted to be. Do you know WHY I went back to school? I want to get a job WRITING FOR NURSING JOURNALS! What a blow! I will regroup. I have already invested in this journey, and I will rewrite this fated paper. I will delete the erroneous extra space in between two words. I will make a more compelling opening statement (although I do not know how compelling Clostridium Difficile can really be). I do believe 75% of the unsatisfactory things she found wrong with my paper are actually things that she has no idea about. – maybe this is the 48 year old woman sticking up for the 16 year old writer in me despite a fact that I cannot ignore – she is the professor that chooses the grades and I am not.