When I was very young, I used my budding imagination to fabricate stories inside my head. I was a shy child and this was my defense against my big, scary surroundings. In my own little fictional world, there was nothing to fear except my imaginary monsters, for which the ultimate power to eliminate was mine alone. As I grew up I learned to use pen and paper to record the stories that I thought would be enjoyed by others.
In elementary school, we were assigned to write various essays, short stories and poetry. My teachers seemed to appreciate my raw talent and began to encourage me to write for enjoyment. I slowly progressed into a decent writer and as time passed, I learned the elements that were expected in a good story.
In the beginning of my fifth grade year, the teacher assigned a short story about an occasion that meant a lot to us. I wrote about the time my dad took me to the drug store and we sat on tall bar stools and ordered malts. I described the woodwork, the ceiling fans, and the ambiance that reminded me of those old fashioned drug stores that I’d seen on television. She kept me after class and accused me of plagiarizing someone else’s work because a child my age would never have been to a place like that; much less know how to structure a proper essay. I tried to tell her that I had, indeed, been to that very drug store and the words that I had written had come from my mind. She gave me an “F” anyway. I cried all the way home. The next time that she assigned an essay, I wondered if I should write it the way a normal eleven-year-old would, and I tried to, but it still came out my way. My teacher neither apologized for accusing me of stealing my first essay nor did she praise my newest work. But I did get an “A”.