Friday, September 7, 2007

What a Night!

Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, visited last night. Well, not me personally, but our town. The evening started as I picked up my parents and then a special guest. Her name is Shirley and she was the first and only person to recognize that perhaps I had a bit-o-talent for this writing thing.

I was in High School and she was a member of our church and a friend of my mothers. She'd heard about this "little" contest for high school students. It was the Guideposts Youth Writing Contest. I told her about a little boy who I loved, and had just died. His name was Tyson and he was severely disabled. With her encouragement and help I wrote the story up and sent it in. My hope was to win one of the brand new typewriters that would be given to the lowest placing "winners." I know...I know...I set my goals high (hahaha). But I didn't win...that.

I won fifth place and a $2000 college scholarship instead. Editor Van Varner came to our town. My picture was in the paper. It was very exciting.

What's interesting is that in all of my time in school, no one...not one teacher encouraged me to write. I wrote reams and reams of poetry. I wrote all the time. I was terribly romantic, taking my pad of paper- and writing under a tree at the park, or on a bench by the duck pond. I just loved it. And, being a former teacher, I hate to bash the schools, but I still do not see that kids are encouraged to write freely. They are taught what a noun and what a verb is and lots of rules, but not to really express themselves through the written word. OK...jumping off my soapbox now.

So anyway- it was so exciting to go to this event with my hero, Shirley. Shirley is a fabulous writer. She's been published numerous times and is a true writer. "I can't-not write." She said as we sat in the grand auditorium. She took notes, as I did while Jack spoke (yeah-we're on a first name basis). Sitting next to my mentor, at this very special event was a dream. Thanks Shirley!
For the next few days I will be sharing inspiration and encouragement from my night with Jack, as well as a few more photos. So come on back.
photo: Shirley and I outside Cordiner Hall

Write Now - Karen


Nita said...

How cool you had/have a mentor like Shirley. It's pretty neat you got to meet Jack Canfield. It's even neater you got to share the evening with your mentor.

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Isn't it? Couldn't have asked for anything more!


moonslice said...

Does it make you feel better that I was encouraged to write? I think sometimes, students fall through the cracks because teachers are distracted with other things. And not all teachers recognize creativity!