While moving recently, I came across many interesting things from years past.. including a lot of writing. The following literacy narrative from Fall 2011 was my 1st school “assignment” after being on hiatus for a decade. It is in the form of a letter to my literature professor at the time, and it was a wonderful class.
Dear Professor M______,
I am writing this letter to you with a sense of excitement and novelty. It has been over a decade since I have been a college student, and in ways I feel both more and less developed as a writer. While I feel the decade-long disconnect with the formal essay and a need to sharpen my grammatical skills, I also feel more accomplished as a journalist and writer of children’s fiction stories.
Currently, I’m a writer and editor with IndyKids– a current events newspaper and educational tool for young adults. While researching and writing about current events, science and animals has been a good learning experience for me, to feel complete as a writer I also enjoy writing freestyle and creating works of fiction for children. Two years ago, I took a Gotham writing course in children’s literature, which has helped me to reconnect with my inner child! Middle grade chapter books are my favorite stories to write thus far. When I’m writing a children’s story, I feel like both an inventor and a world explorer, creating new lands and living out adventures in these new places through my characters’ eyes. It reminds me of times gone by, growing up reading my favorite Roald Dahl books (and others!) and escaping to far away places under extraordinary circumstances and seeing the story through, all under the guise of characters such as Matilda, George, Charlie and the BFG (Big Friendly Giant).
Such a great love of reading had to come from somewhere… and for me I feel that love developed from my grandparents’ love of reading stories to me. I have been told that as a baby, I wasn’t growing very much due to lack of appetite for all things edible. My grandma Elsie was elated when she discovered how long my mouth would hang open when she read Little Golden Books to me! As I sat in the high-chair in my grandparents’ kitchen, she would read to me Mister Dog and The Poky Little Puppy and deliver spoonfuls of eggs and oatmeal into my curious, gaping little mouth. Grandma passed away in that same kitchen when I was just two-and-a-half years old. In that heartbreaking moment I lost my dear friend and my grandma, but thanks to my grandpa Jack I never lost my love of reading books and learning.
After I moved to an apartment upstairs with my parents, several times a week grandpa Jack would come up to tuck me in and read me a bedtime story. I vividly remember him reading a book of biographies of all the presidents of the United States, up until Ronald Reagan at that point in time. To this day, I probably know some odd facts about Grover Cleveland that I probably shouldn’t. Suffering from a little bit of a lisp, I would sometimes ask grandpa how to pronounce a certain word properly. Ironically, the toughest word of all for me to pronounce back then was my very own name, Lisa! These selective pronunciation difficulties certainly made me more conscience of language and the new words that I was learning.
As a creative writer, I think that my greatest period of accomplishment and inspiration came for me while I was taking a sixth-grade creative writing and typing computer lab. I was able to write stories from all sorts of genres- memoir, mystery, and historical thriller were just a few. One of my sources of inspiration was my classmate and writing “muse”, Kate. We always read each other’s work and offered constructive feedback, and by the spring we were collaborating on some very intense stories together! While I created some treasured books on my own, we partnered on several more writing projects, including plays, even through our junior year of high school.
If by the end of this course I am as motivated a writer as I was back in that sixth-grade computer lab, I will know that I have reconnected to my inner voice and my inspiration. I look forward to the possibilites…