This I Believe

Susanmarie - Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Entered on February 6, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: creativity

I believe in the power of writing. To pen a note or a letter seems purposeful, unlike many spoken words.

My grandmother would often scoff at the greeting cards she’d receive with just a signature. She deemed it more insulting to send such an impersonal gesture than none at all.

When I was a young girl, my mother would judge informal battles of the pen between my father and me. Our small kitchen, a place for quiet meals, was transformed into a boxing ring. It was here that Dad and I could take jabs, pull tricks, and dance around words in hopes of a victory. As we hunched over the corners of our plastic kitchen table, mothers’ voice would boom as she’d shout out our writing prompt with the fury and conviction of a boxing referee. We’d continue to write until my mother called time by demanding, “Pencils down!” In the end, two papers were pushed from opposite corners of the table toward my mother. Studying each paper with great conviction, Mother remained silent as Father and I studied her face for a reaction. With more diplomacy than any world leader, my mother would begin to review each piece of writing, explaining her corrections, thoughts and strong suggestions.

Those who received my mother’s cards, notes, and letters were captivated by how eloquently my mother could speak with a pen as her voice. This was quite an achievement for a woman who never graduated from high school. When my mother died at 55 years of age, the only way I could honor her was through writing, and a eulogy seemed the solution.

My parents discussed the importance of education with a conviction so strong I often wondered who was applying to college, them or me. As a result, I felt as if I was attending college on behalf of all three of us, a belief I held until I acquired our Master’s Degree in Education. After all, my parents helped craft my words as I tackled one assignment after another.

In my quest for a compatible career, I discovered art education, which allows me creative freedom. My goal as an art teacher is simple; use words to inspire and assist, as students create works of art. The words I choose, and the way I present them makes a profound difference in the interpretation of my instruction.

Inspired by my love of words, I have become a storyteller. I often instruct through rhyme or begin a lesson with a story. Advised by my youngest critics, I turned one of my stories into a manuscript. This manuscript sits on a publisher’s desk in hopes of acceptance. This has proved to be another lesson regarding writing; if rejection is the first step to acknowledgment as a writer, I have been acknowledged, again and again.