I’ve been away again. I meant to write to you earlier this week but I used it to celebrate instead of writing. What was I celebrating? The fourteen anniversary of when I decided to become a writer. I was a kid, innocent to the ways of the imagination. Like a… well child, I was misusing my power to create imaginary friends, torment my brother with horrifying stories of six toed beavers, and convince my teachers that I was really a soldier from a different world sent here to color all day every day with out need to do any work.
But that day, October 9th 2000, my teacher gave us an assignment. A week before he had told us we would start poetry, which I was excited about since my favorite writer just so happened to be a poet. Well this assignment was to write a Haiku. He wanted me, a reader, to essentially do what E. A. Poe was doing. I scoffed at his gall, I wouldn’t dare to attempt this blasphemy. But seeing as I had already gotten a talking to because I missed a couple of assignments, I had to.
I sat there, in a quiet room, looking around at my classmates as they counted syllables. The ditz was having a blast, the class clown was laughing at his creation. How dare they, who do they think they are besmirching my, in all honesty, only friend. If they could attempt it, I must be able to best them at his exercise. I began to write.
I found myself staring into the unfathomable depths of the universe. I felt the wonderful thrill of reaching into abyss and releasing a fragment of my imagination. I felt my heart race as I molded my words into visible representations of what was going on in my head. I whipped wondrous words wildly about, i delved deep into dark and decrepit dungeons. I wrote. I wrote. I wrote.
I left the room. I could feel the curious stares of my class on the back of my head. The cold air hit my tear drenched face. I shit you not, I cried. For the very first time in my short life I had a clear vision of what the rest of it would be. I returned to the class after fixing myself. Muttered something about needing the restroom, the giggle that ran through the room didn’t faze me. I sat back down and realized my work was missing. I look around accusingly, only to find it in my teacher’s hands. His face didn’t not change, he put it down and beckoned me.
“I need you to stay after class.” He said.
When everyone was packed and ready to leave I made my way to his desk. He walked out with the rest and bid them a good afternoon. He came back, sat down, pulled my work out of the pile of assignments and smiled.
“This is very good.”
I said nothing.
“You know this is supposed to go up in the bulletin board outside of the office.”
I said nothing.
“Afterwards, I normally keep them.”
I opened my mouth but didn’t say anything.
“But I couldn’t do that without paying for it first.” he handed me a two dollar bill.
I was paid for the very first bit of writing I ever did. If the sheer joy of writing hadn’t cinched it, the money sure did. I was overjoyed with myself for months. I continued to write, none stop. At the end of the school year I had written seventy Haikus, fifty-two Elizabethan poems, two short stories and a shit load of character histories. On the last day of school there was an envelope on my desk. It contained a letter and my fist work.
The letter was short and to the point.
“I think it’s best if you keep this. A trophy. The two bucks, keep them, too. Just remember to sign a copy of your first published work.”
I still have that letter and first work. I read it every anniversary. I’m sorry to say I will not write it out here. It is mine. Utterly mine. Here’s to another fourteen.
Till next time,