D.V. Sheppard

The web-log of a duck-herding author.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Golden Ticket of Scrap Paper

I have a little table/desk in my living room that is technically supposed to be mine to use for writing, and whatnot. For a month or two now, we've constantly had a projector, or video game console on it (did I mention that I'm kind of a nerd?). The projector and consoles have finally been given back to my dad and brother (guess, I'm not THAT big of a nerd), and I have my desk back. I moved my laptop back to this designated spot today, and caught sight of this sitting among the surface clutter.

It says, "Paige, You are a good writer. Are you sure you want to go to massage therapy school?" This was written at the bottom of on of my papers in my English 150 class in college. I ripped it off the bottom and framed it with the name and date of the teacher who wrote it. Now, I didn't continue on and get a four year degree - I went to massage therapy school. I'm a religious person, and I can tell you right now, that it was definitely in God's plan for me to go this route. Had I not, my husband would be a very sick man, and he and I would probably still be living with my parents... or I guess one of my parents. Anyways - that's a long, miraculous and heavy story. My point is that I do not regret in any way my decision - it was the right one.

But, I am also glad that I did my one summer term stint at a university, if for no other reason (and there are other great reasons) than that my English teacher wrote this to me. - By the way, did I mention that he was hot? He was. I mean... I was a bit flabbergasted that a man so genuinely and incontrovertibly attractive could teach a freshman course. I'm pretty positive that my eyes bugged out the first day of class when I realized that the overly good-looking man at the front of the class was going to remain there for all of us to stare at the entire term. I'd put up a picture, but I don't feel that would be either respectful (yes, I recognize that I already did that damage above with my description), nor do him justice (he really is that good-looking). Just understand that, in addition to be a brilliant writer, and excellent teacher, he was a model one (teehee).

Moving on past his good looks, I'd also like to point out that he was a critical thinker, and while not in any way "mean", he wouldn't have written what he did cause he was just that kind of a nice guy. It was unexpected, and coming from him it had to really mean something. No, I don't think I was the most brilliant writer he'd ever met. I literally laugh at that thought. No, no, I am not so gifted as that. But! Up to this point, my writing had been validated by a very small handful of people - most of whom were friends. I respected my high school English teacher's opinion, and held that close to my heart (if she had written a note like the one above, I would have framed that too). This was college though! And he seemed to think I had enough talent, that if I chose to pursue writing in school, instead of massage therapy, that it would be a good move! I could maybe get good! :p

So, I keep it framed on my desk to remind me that someone who's opinion on the subject I respect thought that I had what it takes to be great. It was and is to me a Golden Ticket into the ranks of "good-enough". "All" that I have to do is the hard work to get myself from where I am to the Chocolate Factory. It may sound overly simplistic, but it motivates me- and right now that is far more important than the outcome.

What about you? Do you have any mementos that help you keep going?


Found you after all. Like you, I used to get encouragement from teachers about my writing. The only thing I keep now are some of my personal rejections from agents that have had nice things to say about my stories. Sometimes it helps to pull them out and read them.
That's awesome. You should hang it on your wall near your desk. Let it be a little something to look up to if you ever start doubting. (:
I've moved house way too many times over the years to have mementos, but I'm happy that you find inspiration in nearby places. We all need that. :-)
i think framing that is a great idea. maybe i need to print out the encouraging comments i've gotten and tack them to the wall.

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