Many things influence the journey to writing. Like life itself, we take a circuitous route.
There’s this terrific fabulist noir book of Ray Bradbury’s: Death is a Lonely Business.
I had a teacher in high school named Sheila Kasprzyk. (https://www.facebook.com/sheila.kasprzyk/tributes) She was a wonderful teacher, rest her soul.
An aside. In double checking the spelling, I found another person who mentioned Sheila Kasprzyk at San Clemente High School. But he’s had a lot more success at his story telling. Let’s name drop:
There are many teachers that helped me realize some potential along the way. Most I couldn’t hear, or believe, until I looked backwards. At the time, she saw something I didn’t see in myself. Of the many papers we wrote for her class, one was a book review. You can guess what I picked. I’ll get to more about the book in a minute.
When I got the review back, Mrs. Kasprzyk wrote, “Finally. This is what I’ve been looking for from you. Where has this been?” Something of the sort.
There was more but I got an A. I couldn’t please her before and now I cranked something out and she praised it. Not only that, she let me know that she saw potential in me. Something I did not have for myself.
For me: decent grades sure. But no real interest in school.
To paraphrase Maurice Ruffin: When you write, you honor all those who encouraged your writing. People don’t waste their breathe. They meant it when they said you had a gift.
Now, believe me when I say that I still remember her comments. Her belief. Her effort.
When I re-read Death is a Lonely Business recently, I was surprised to see an influence on my first novel, Reaping Independence. The Venice canals, the pier, the beach. Bradbury’s storytelling among many others. Many, many others. But in the most recent chapter that posted in this serialized novel, there’s that sense of magic in the movies and place. Santa Monica. Hollywood. The people.
So what am I getting at?
A couple of things. You never know what the encouragement you share could mean to someone. (Same with the discouragement but that’s another story for another time.)
A book, some thought and a few well placed words influenced something I made ~30 years later.
What else am I getting at?
Well, go read my book. Just a chapter. You can do a chapter at a time and it’s just getting started. In fact, a new chapter dropped today. Go on. Give me a read. It’s a romp. Maybe you’ll see something in it like a teacher did in me a long (long) time ago.