My first real success at writing goes all the way back to high school. I excelled in Advanced Composition and College Prep English, just like many others. No, this happened outside of my English class. My big success happened in American History. Oh–I need to tell you this occurred in the early seventies. In a traditional rural public school, things were sexist. Roles were gender specific and most jobs were the same way.
Normally, a very quiet young lady (in school at least) I took offence to a boy saying a woman could never become president. The discussion soon became a class topic and heated up dramatically. My wise teacher explained to us that something this important should be voted upon. She called “jerkhead” and myself up and asked if we would run for president of the United States. The young man in question, thought it great fun and we both agreed.
We wrote speeches addressing all the problems of the nation and possible solutions. For those who don’t remember, in the south, this was the middle of integration. Schools were becoming tension filled arenas for change.
On the day of the election, our teacher took our speeches and read them to the class. We were not in the room and she told no one whose speech belong to whom. Drumroll Please!!!! I won. When we were brought back into the class, the teacher announced the results to a stunned class and you- know -who.
For the rest of the year, that young man addressed me as “Madam President” and carried my books to the bus every afternoon.
The seeds of great ideas come from so many places. Allowing ourselves the freedom to express these ideas and converse with others about them, builds community. As I join the writing community, I look forward to talking with you about so many things…
PS: My first summer job while in college, “jerkface” was my boss. Life is cruel!