While we sat cross-legged on the carpet, my primary school teacher, curly red-haired Miss Watson read aloud my story to our Grade 3 class.
I was a shy, sensitive child – anxiety and quiet tears overwhelmed me when it was my turn to share my story. As Miss Watson read my words, I closed my eyes and held my breath. When I heard the children laugh at the funny parts, I opened my eyes and looked up at my teacher; she winked at me and a giggle escaped my lips. Her nodding smile, gentle encouragement and praise gave me courage to keep writing.
Throughout life, writing was the one thing I believed I was good at – on a good day.
There were many more days I doubted myself, but I kept trying. I wrote at midnight with my mind calm or whenever I had a rush of energy, idea or needed to type and be inside my head instead of talking to people.
Thirty years after I graduated from Miss Watson’s class – during the spring of 2009, I met teacher and writer, Anne Rayvals, when I took her “Creative Writing for Beginners” class.
I read aloud my first homework assignment to the class. Anne was silent when I read the last sentence. She looked up, stared at me and stated, “Mary – YOU will be PUBLISHED.”
The way she said it to me – made me believe.
Anne was right. I was awarded 3rd place for the 2009 Vancouver Courier Annual Fiction Contest that fall, where my story “Dusty High Heels” became the first short story I published. Dusty High Heels, Page 1 Dusty High Heels, Page 2
Sometimes it takes a teacher or two – over the span of a few decades to convince yourself that you’re good at something. Pursuing what you want takes guts, passion and perseverance to make you fly.
That shy 8-year old girl is a part of who I am today.
I’m still working on my wings.