I Never Write Right
When I was fifteen, I announced to my English class that I was going to write and 1)illustrate my own books. Half the students sneered, the rest nearly fell out of their chairs laughing. “Don’t be silly, only geniuses can become writers,” the English teacher said 2)smugly, “And you are getting a D this semester.” I was so humiliated I burst into tears.
That night I wrote a short sad poem about broken dreams and mailed it to the Capri’s Weekly newspaper. To my astonishment, they published it and sent me two dollars. I was a published and paid writer. I showed my teacher and fellow students. They laughed. “Just plain dumb luck,” the teacher said. I tasted success. I’d sold the first thing I’d ever written. That was more than any of them had done and if it was just dumb luck, that was fine with me.
During the next two years I sold dozens of poems, letters, jokes and 3)recipes. By the time I graduated from high school, with a C minus average, I had 4)scrapbooks filled with my published work. I never mentioned my writing to my teachers, friends or my family again. They were dream killers and if people must choose between their friends and their dreams, they must always choose their dreams.
I had four children at the time, and the oldest was only four. While the children napped, I typed on my ancient typewriter. I wrote what I felt. It took nine months, just like a baby. I chose a publisher at random and put the manuscript in an empty Pampers 5)diapers package, the only box I could find. I’d never heard of manuscript boxes. The letter I enclosed read, “I wrote this book myself, I hope you like it. I also do the illustrations. Chapter six and twelve are my favourites. Thank you.” I tied a string around the diaper box and mailed it without a self addressed stamped envelope and without making a copy of the manuscript.