Tomorrow Mysteristas are kicking off an exciting month of events. Visit often so you don’t miss anything.
Today, on the last day of June, the topic is stars.
First and foremost, my readers and FB followers know that I lost my eldest cat on New Year’s Day. Her name was Starlight, she answered to Starlight, Star, Starship and Starsky (which explains why the next cat in age to her is Hutch). I still miss you sweetie.
Every writer has stars in her life. Those wonderful people who encouraged them and taught them the craft. We learned rhyme scheme in second grade English. One of our assignments was to write a poem using the a/b scheme. Seven year olds can make rhymes of anything, probably even the word orange, but since I’m not seven anymore, it eludes me. So the rhyming part was no challenge. The catch for the poem was it had to tell a story. Mine ran on for four pages, it was a mystery, and it ended with the immortal words,
POP, POP, POP
HERE COMES THE COP
Mrs. Fuchs, (all our teachers were Mrs. or Miss) my second grade teacher, gave me an A+ for that. Said my poem was interesting and told the story well. That first review gave birth to a mystery novelist. Thinking back on it, I think she saw four pages of childish print and took the easy way out. But at the time, I was so proud that I remember the ending today.
All the rest of my grade school teachers were supportive of my writing. Some were harsh task makers but they taught the basics well.
Sister Marie Therese gave me both my most frightening and most rewarding moment as a writer. She was my English teacher in my sophomore year in high school, and she was tough. Ask anyone who went to Lacordaire Academy in my day. Sr. Marie Therese taught us story form. She assigned us to write a story. I no longer remember the topic or the tale. They say moments of great stress will do that to you. On the day the stories were due to be returned, Sr. opened class by saying she was going to read some of them aloud, but would not announce the authors. When she began reading, I realized it was my story. She read the opening paragraph and stopped, telling the class she wasn’t going to read further. With that, she flipped her veil and walked down the aisle to her seat. I was in the process of melting under my desk fearful that I had written the best example of how not to write when I realized the class around me was going crazy. They wanted the rest of the story. They were interested. Sr. Marie Therese stood behind her chair at the front of the room and said, “That’s a hook, class, this story has everything a story should. It makes you want more.” I took my first breath since she stopped reading and knew I had found a calling. Sr. ended by reading the rest of the story and. was responsible for some of my early short story sales. I’ve tried to locate her over the years. I want her to know that I did go on to publish three books.
It’s teachers like this who make difference. If you are a teacher and wonder if anyone really cares, be assured they do.
Those are my lifetime stars. What about yours?