Life is filled with irony. How does a ‘C’ student, who avoided writing at all cost, grow into a love for writing? Ah, the mysteries of life. Looking back to my high school days, I now recognize glimpses of my hidden writer trying to emerge. It sneaks out in strange ways. Sitting in creative writing class, I stared at a blank page, unable to conjure up any ideas related to the topic given. I didn’t do well in creative writing. I hated it, and it showed in my grades. However, the hidden creative mind emerged in quite unexpected places.
In my senior year, I reluctantly took a writing class which required each student to submit a thirty-page research paper. The end of the semester was nearing, and along with my peers, I prepared for the most dreaded writing assignments in high school.
“Class,” Mrs. Blackwell said as she returned the note cards with our research notes. “This paper cannot be written with less than seventy note cards. Some of you aren’t going to make it.” I wondered why she made this statement as she dropped the note cards on my desk.
A quick count of my thin stack revealed seven cards. I hadn’t exactly put my best foot forward on this one. With a mere one-tenth of the required cards, I set out to write my, ahem, well-researched paper. I was astonished at how the words flowed. Yes, I wrote a thirty-page research paper on the arms race between the U.S. and Russia, and I did it with almost no facts. And I got a good grade on the paper.
So when people ask me how I got started in fiction, I think back to Mrs. Blackwell’s class and say, “It must have been… something I picked up in creative writing class.”