Monday, December 14, 2009

Pencil to Paper

Pencils didn't have erasers on them until 100 years ago because teachers felt they would encourage children to make mistakes.

Ask a writer when they started writing and most will pause a moment, slightly confused and cross eyed. You can see their mind whir and churn, travelling back to the moment they were compelled to pick up a pencil and put it to paper– it could have been a poem, an essay, a story, or diary entry. For the most part, most writers have, well, written, since they were kids. Once my elementary school librarian, Mrs. Hackworth, introduced me to reading, I was addicted to the written word, and soon after I was also writing shorts stories and poetry. We were lucky to have a writing competition at our school, Jubail Academy, and over the years I won quite a few of the prizes. In the 9th grade, our language arts teachers, Mrs. Cochrane started a novel writing club and six eager students (including moi) struggled with our literary masterpieces. It taught us that if we were organized and perseverant, we could actually write a book.

Many writers have a folded stapled sheaf of dog-eared pages – their first book, lying around somewhere. I wrote mine in the 3rd grade and it is titled “The Home Work Machine”, accompanied by crayon illustrations. Thankfully, I realized early on that drawing was not my strong suite. So the writing bug catches early, and for many it is an affliction of a lifetime. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is no known cure…

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