I am thrilled to be guest posting for my dear friend Claire today. She has an incredible site on learning to tell your story through writing-The Gift of Writing -which you should check out immediately! She asked me to share a little bit of my own journey with writing, so I thought I would tell you the tale of how the letter ‘C’ almost ruined me.
Long ago, when I wore my dark hair in two perfectly aligned pigtails, I decided I wanted to write.
That, and become an ice cream truck driver.
It was the perfect career marriage for me: blank lined notebooks ready for my eager hand, an acceptable means of escape into my own secret world, and an endless supply of ice creamy cookie dough goodness.
Like most overly bookish grade schoolers, I was lauded for my writing efforts from a young age. Short stories would come back adorned with shiny gold stars and smiley faces. I grinned back at them, confident I had found ‘that thing’ I was truly good at.
Something that made me special.
In high school, I sailed through Honors English, my reports now arriving with glossy red A’s. One of my stories was highlighted in the school’s yearly literary collection, second only to a boy whose name I’m embarrassed to admit I still remember.
Upon arriving at university, I enrolled in the standard entry-level English course, sure the straight laced instructor would recognize my talent right away. Our first assignment was to recount a childhood memory. I found it easy to complete, and knew I would be publicly applauded for my vivid descriptions and above average sentence structure.
I was wrong.
So. Very. Wrong.
As the paper gently floated down in front of me – cast without a second glance from the pile the instructor was doling out – I caught site of something odd scribbled in the top right hand corner. My forehead creased in confusion. What was that? A closer look revealed a letter I had never seen before.
The most on-the-fence, pathetic, mediocre of all the letters.
I thought it couldn’t get any worse than being labeled as mediocre in my chosen field of study. But then, my professor produced an overhead version of my piece – she had planned my humiliation ahead of time – and threw it up on the projector for the entire class to dissect.
I was mortified.
My cheeks flushed as I listened to my peers critique me, silently praying I would melt right into the orange plastic chair that was holding me up. All this time, I had thought writing was what made me unique.
But apparently, it was what made me average.