In the state of North Carolina, there were three writing tests. One in fourth grade, on in seventh, and a final one in tenth. The first was the best of the bunch. I suppose in a roundabout way, I have the state to thank for discovering writing when I did.
4th grade. First day/week of school (I can’t remember which). My super awesome teacher had us write a story to see where we stood before beginning prep for the writing test. At the time, I believed I was a boring kid with no special talents or tricks. There wasn’t anything that I was really good at. Imagine my shock when it came down between a boy’s story and mine for best in class. He won in the end, but that simple moment stuck with me. I nearly came out best in class. For writing.
What. The. Hell.
Over the course of the year, that super awesome teacher nourished our 4th grade writing abilities. She taught many things in ways I could understand. I thought it was a mistake when my report came in with an A in math, but she was that good. When test time came and went, scores came back. Even now, I’m still not sure this is correct but it’s what I think I heard.
I had the only 4 in the entire 4th grade. 4 was the highest score you could get. This writing thing was something I could really do.
By 5th grade, I was scribbling random scenes and story starts in the back of my math class. By 8th grade, I had scores of notebooks filled with starts to stories and I was eager to start high school and see what my English teachers could do to help me move forward as a writer. That didn’t quite work out like I expected and along the way, I explored other career paths.
I started college as an elementary education major. I graduated with a degree in English and no intention of ever teaching.
That is my writing origins. What’s yours?