You know, I am taking an English Composition I class because my writing skills were determined to be not up to par on my college entrance exam. That surprised me in a way, but didn't surprise me in another way. I mean, I'm so used to people telling me that I am a good writer that I kind of assumed I'd do okay on that portion, and be able to begin with the English Comp II which is one of the core requirements to graduate. English Comp I is not a requirement. I pay extra for that, and have to take the other required English courses on top of it. So yeah, I was a little surprised. But there is also a part of me that believes that I'm not really a good writer, and that people are actually just being polite. That part of me was not surprised at all to find myself in an English Comp I class.
The teacher is very nice. He teaches a very dry subject, but it is one that he loves. He loves the written word. He likes putting the words together, just like I do. I mean, this man knows about writing. He knows the good stuff. He knows crap. He gets paid to grade things, so I was curious to find out what kind of grades I would get on my own writing. I was pretty sure that he would not hand out As just to be polite. Well. I'm getting good grades and very nice comments. When he read my column in the paper, he was delighted to realize that he knew the writer. On the last paper, he noted that I present him with a real dilemma. He's never had a student like me in his class before, and he's not sure whether he should "try to rein me in or just let me run." In the end, he decided to let me run. He was afraid that he got in my way he would be trampled. I was a little surprised to read his kind words.
That little column has opened an amazing amount of doors for me. Really. In the three years that I have been writing it, I've made new friends. It's garnered respect. It's given me a leg up, chances that I would have never had, simply because people recognized my name (wait...are you that woman who writes in the paper? I love you....) and it's a little disconcerting because when I meet a person for the first time, they already know me quite well. I don't know them at all. Still though, whenever I'd hear the words "Hey! Are you the writer?", my first inclination was to be embarrassed and blurt something to the effect of "well, I'm not really a writer. It's just a hobby."
You know, now that I am in school, now that I am getting good grades, now that I am writing essays for classes and getting perfect grades for them, one right after another, there is something inside me that is finally becoming convinced that I can write. Saturday, when I went to get my hair cut and the woman in the next chair said, "Can I ask you? Are you the woman who writes in the paper?" and I said, "Yes." She told her stylist "She's a writer!" For the first time ever, I didn't feel the need to correct her. Yesterday, I hammered out my eleventh essay since I started school. After I get it back, with the teacher's corrections and comments, I was thinking about rewriting it, and submitting it to a magazine. Just to see what will happen.