Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Aha Moment

This is how my love affair with writing began. In 2008, I wrote a middle grade novel. It was the year after I'd just gotten married. My husband and I traveled to 5 different countries within a year to get the "sillies" out before deciding to settle down and become parents. We visited Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Paris, Panama, and Puerto Rico. (a lot of "P" countries, I know!) What an adventure! Each country I visited gave me exactly what I needed to propel my story. From lush rainforests, to waves crashing against jagged rocky cliffs, to the mouth-watering smell of croissants baking at the cafe' on the corner. All of these excursions gave me hands-on life lessons about setting and for that I am grateful.

But every story needs characters. I could have traveled to every country in the world that year back in 2008, but none of those countries had the depth and heart of the types of characters that I truly sought. Those characters could only be found in one classroom!

I've been teaching 5th grade since 2003 and boy has it been a journey! There have been times when I've laughed, cried, and just plain wanted to quit! I figured, "Hey I wrote a book! I'm going to get a book deal! I can quit my job now and become the next NY Times Bestseller!"

Five years have passed since then. And like many aspiring writers, I've shelved my first novel and have moved on to new projects. And I'm STILL a teacher. Why? Because my "aha" moment helped me realize that as much as my students need me, I need them as well. I need to hear their stories of the kid who farted in the back of the room and blamed it on the class guinea pig. I have to witness them awkwardly dancing to the Cupid Shuffle next to their "crush" at the Valentine's Day Dance. These are the stories that guide me through my writing journey. And while I will continue to travel around the world (on a teacher's budget, of course), the classroom is the heart of where my writing journey will always begin.

And on that note, I wish a Happy Teacher's Appreciation Week to all my teacher friends!


No comments: