Dear Mr C
I wanted to thank you. I know I was probably just another kid that you taught but one day you took the time to lend me one of your own possessions. One you thought I might enjoy. It was just another book. Except it wasn't.
It was a fantastic book. An intelligent book, not one you perhaps think 'young teenage girl'. It was a book written by a woman who might be described by some as feminist and eco-warrior but really she is just a smart woman who believes in equality.
It wasn't a book my school would much have liked and they would never have had it in their library. But yet you leant it to me and trusted me not to spread it around, to take care of it and to respond to being introduced to something like this. You showed believe in me as a person, as an adult.
I may not have been enthusiastic about the book when I returned it, I can't remember. I went on to read many books by this author and she is still one of my favourites. She has helped shape my thinking.
Thank you for showing you believed in me, you didn't just lend me a book, you opened a door.
p.s. I loved the purple smoke
Despicable Miss W
You stole my stories. You took them from me. My ideas chained in grammar. Lost under the weight of spelling. Did you know you stole them? Did you mourn their loss? Did you see my writing lose it's flame? Did you see me lose my fire? Did you know that with my stories, the light in my eyes died in the wind?
My stories were the most huge adventures, the most awesome tales. Did you take the time to find out what they were? Did you listen with your soul? Had your sense of awe and wonder died to? Did someone take your ability to enjoy a good yarn? Did you kill mine through spite or lack of understanding or were you just doing your job?
Your judgement of me left me thinking I was thick for years. I wasn't. You didn't have all the facts. I was young. I was too young. I caught up but I never caught my confidence and self belief again. Not in school anyway.
You stole from me, but I take it back, it is mine and you can not keep it from me, it is who I am. I want my stories back....
That's not right.... *sigh*
Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl who could tell stories. Her stories took her to beautiful lands where there were amazing adventures to be had. Dragons and unicorns lived alongside animals never seen before in any story before or since. Her stories flowed from the secret place of magic within her.
One day an evil old woman asked her to tell a story and so the little girl did. It was a story of amazing beauty and wonder and the old woman listened intently. Or at least she did for a while and then she said
'You need to pause and take a breath occasionally. Try breaking your words down into proper sentences and then you won't end up getting short of breath.'
The little girl thought about this and thought it sounded very proper. She went to start her story again but she couldn't remember where she was. The story was gone, but that didn't matter, there was another, waiting eagerly to be born.
And so she began another story, a tall story of moon and mist and all the things inbetween.
The evil old lady scowled and after a very short while she interupted again.
'Oh i don't think that sounded right at all, you need to remember never to begin a sentende with but or and.'
The little girl's lower lip began to tremble a little. The story was gone but another grew and there it was a fable of foxes and forests.
'oh don't say the fox and me, say the fox and I'
The fable died but another grew of waves and mermaids and songs of beauty from beneath the waves.
'That was the wrong form of the verb it is you are, not you is'
The mermaids wrung their hair in sorrow and a tale of bear and eagle on a mountain of ice began
'Which form of the word are you using? B-E-A-R or B-A-R-E?'
Moles in pink winged glasses burrowing for hidden treasures....
'Your story needs a beginning, a middle and the end. You can't start at the end.'
'Blue hair isn't sensible!'
'No. this just won't do! Capital letters and full stops. Sentences have to make sense all by themselves. Use the right form of the verb. Spell all the words right. Never, ever make up words, use the dictionary....'
On and on it went. Each comment from the evil old woman stole a story from the Little girl. Each spell made it harder for her to hear what the stories were trying to tell her from deep within. Until she couldn't hear any more. They were gone and she sat there numb and practiced the form of the verb to be with the evil old woman before learning how to correctly join the letters a and e neatly together.
The little girl was so grateful that she was learning how to make her stories better that she didn't notice. One day she tried to tell a story and all that came out were words that sounded like the evil old woman
'i before e, except after c. No! That isn't a story!'
She wailed, but the stories had gone and she cried for their loss. She couldn't remember the story of how to get them back. She was lost and she couldn't hear and she was alone and lost without them.
She went to the house of the evil old woman and she took out her fountain pen and stabbed the evil old woman with it. Everytime her pen swopped down, a story was freed....
A bunny rabbit with a tail of silver...
And again her pen flew.
A walk across the surface of the sun...
And down into the evil old woman it fell.
The evil old woman lay at her feet, quite dead. Covered in blood and ink.
The little girl looked on in horror but then a story grew inside her head.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful queen who was put under a spell that could only be broken with blood and ink and the words of a storyteller true....