As 2017 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to write this letter, thanking you for believing in me…even though it took me eleven years to make good on your faith.
I know you remember to what I’m referring, because that’s the type of English student you were: responsible, attentive, and conscientious. Thank you for being so. But since this is an open letter, and others won’t know, let me provide some background.
Back in 2006, as we were preparing for Christmas Break, you presented me with a gift. You had seen it while out shopping and thought of me, you said. I don’t remember if you had wrapped it or put it in a gift bag, but it doesn’t matter now. It was a book, something all English teachers love to get, gift or not! But this one was special, titled How to Write What You Want & Sell What You Write, a Barnes and Noble book by Skip Press. I think I might have even teared up—do you remember?
Anyway, inside the book, a Christmas card dated 12/19/06 read, “Here’s just something to help you get started! Whatever you decide to write will be great & I can’t wait to have my own copy!” you wrote. How glad I am that I’ve hung on to it until now.
Back then, I had no idea what I would decide to write, either, I just knew that one day, I wanted to be the author of my very own book—even though I didn’t write (unless blogging) on a regular basis. (What was I thinking!)
Life took its twists and turns, and a few years later, thinking I wanted to teach at the college level, I decided to get my master’s degree. When I found out that Ashland University offered an MFA—in what else?! Writing!—I was stoked. I had always wanted my master’s in a concentrated area, not education, and writing seemed like the ideal fit for me. I also had a story I had to get out of me, even if just for my own sake: that of my car accident a year before.
Who would have known that for the next five years I would work to craft that story, turning it into a memoir from which I hoped others could take inspiration? That memoir goes to the publisher within the month to become a book, Paige: a tangible, real-life, page-turning paperback that I am so very proud of. One which you believed in—ELEVEN years ago. (And wait until you see the cover! I could only dream of one so fitting. Okay…I’ll just include it here!)
Thank you, Paige, for believing in me before I even knew if I could do it. You were the first in a long line of students who gave me the confidence I needed over the last several years to write the book, and for that, I have endless appreciation. I can’t wait to return your 2006 Christmas gift with one of my very own.