Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)
TITLE: Recollections of a Writer
By Elizabeth Cain
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“Nothing, I, uh… was just writing a few notes.”
His teacher eyed him carefully as she walked over to his desk, “We are going over a few examples of how to tell gerunds apart from infinitives. I think you’d do better to listen to this and follow along.” She looked down at Tommy’s paper, “May I see it?”
Tommy swallowed, handing her the sheet of paper he’d been writing on. He winced as he watched his teacher’s reaction as she read the paper Tommy and his friend, Austin, had been passing back and forth to each other during class. He could tell she was hurt by the comments they’d made about her lectures, and he was certain the doodle he’d drawn of her wasn’t flattering to her. She took a deep breath before telling him to pay attention to the remainder of class, and then she walked back to her desk. Tommy watched her lay the paper on her desk, hoping she’d not call him up after class.
When the bell rang forty minutes later, Tommy quickly gathered his things together and made his way toward the door.
“Mr. Turner, please come up here.”
Tommy froze, his heart sinking. He turned slowly, wishing he could escape with the other students who were pushing their way past him. Tommy approached her desk nervously, his heart pounding in his chest.
Mrs. Hamilton waited until the students had all left and the door had closed before she calmly said, "I would appreciate it if you would pay attention during my lectures. I don’t teach these lessons because I enjoy hearing my own voice; I do it because I want this class to know how to use grammar properly.” She tapped the paper with her index finger, “Your writing could really benefit from my lectures.” She handed Tommy the paper, giving him a bright smile. “I must say, your writing style is quite promising, despite its grammatical errors. You’ve always struck me as having a creative mind; the kind that if applied to more constructive uses, could lead to the path of a renowned writer.” Her smile broadened as she nodded at the door. “I won’t keep you any longer. You may go.”
Tommy blinked, his mind snapping back to the present. To think that because of that day he now held in his hands his third, newly published book. Tommy smiled as he leafed through the pages. Who could have guessed how profound an affect that encounter with teacher that day would have on his life? He closed the book and placed it on his writer’s desk, standing it next to his other two books. He leaned back to gaze at his collection. His latest book was by far the best written, but the first still had a higher place in his heart. Tommy smiled as he pulled out his first piece of writing. He opened it to the dedication page. His smile broadening as he read that small sentence again: This book is dedicated my ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Hamilton, whose loving critique has encouraged me to be the writer I am today.
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