In my novel, Welcome Stranger, an encounter with a stranger changes a woman’s life.
Thinking back on my life as a writer, I was remembering that a somewhat unexpected turn set me on this path.
Junior year of high school, the administration actually allowed us to choose themed English classes, rather than subjecting us to the generic English III. My friends and I signed up to take a class taught by the young, cool, blond 20-something Mrs. Schell, who specialized in assigning exciting multi-media projects. No ordinary term papers here.
But the class was full and I was disappointed to be randomly assigned to a class taught by Sister Mary, the traditional English teacher/vice principal.
Now don’t get me wrong. Sister Mary was not one of those scary nuns from my elementary years. No veil, no habit, no heavy wooden cross for her. Sister Mary was 30ish with a flippy hair-do and mini skirt. But gosh darn it, we were gonna write in this class, she told us that first day, and you better not expect an A unless you produced something insightful and special. I was not a happy camper. Easily intimidated, I was a little scared.
Long story short, Sister Mary was the first person who told me I could write. In fact she told I excelled at writing, that I could be a writer. Or maybe she was the fist person I listened to. At any rate, her praise made all the difference to me. Forty years later and I’m still scribbling.
Have you ever had a chance encounter that made a difference for you? Was there a special teacher that made an important contribution to your life?