It was 1984. I was in third grade. We were given an assignment to write and illustrate a story. Each story would be published as a little book. There would be exactly one copy of each book. Those books would reside in the school library.
I wrote a story called, “The Genie”. It was the first time I’d ever written a story. My teacher looked at it and said, “This is good. You should write more.” I thought she was saying it wasn’t long enough. I offered to make it longer. She said, “No, no. You should write more often.”
“Is it extra credit?” I asked.
“No. That’s not what I mean. You’re a good writer. You should write stories for fun outside of school.”
This was the first time I’d ever even considered such a thing. It was that teacher who made me pursue writing. And it The Genie was the story that started it off.
On the last day of my sixth grade class at my elementary school, I went to the school library and stole my book. I’ve had it ever since.
And now, after spending an evening scanning the pages, for the first time in thirty years, you can read my very first story that I wrote when I was nine years old. Since then my writing has gotten better. My artistic skills have not.