*Before I begin this post I'd like to mention that it is noon and I am just sitting down at the computer to post this...and it feels pretty amazing! Each of my posts this week were written the night before and scheduled to post early in the morning so that I could get to work. I'm off today...and tomorrow....it is glorious!*
Okay, now to the point of my post. I love mail; writing, sending, and receiving letters, real letters. Sure, e-mail is great too, but it's instant...sometimes I like to wait for something physical to show up in my mailbox. The envelope in your hand, tearing it open.....sorry, my point is I like to get mail, and I like to write letters, so today I'm going to write a letter.
A thank you letter to my college english professor.
Dear Professor (sorry, I forgot your name),
Thank you for your constant criticism. Thank you for the poor marks I received on that first paper, thank you for calling me out in front of the class for having, in your words "the worst thesis you'd read that year" (my face turned about twenty different shades of red that day, and I had to fight the urge to run out of the room crying...I was a mature college student and stuck around for the rest of the berating)...and thank you for not going easy on me. I didn't enjoy the unkind words, I really didn't like it when you called me a quitter (I didn't quit, you just thought it wasn't strong enough), but what really got me was when you told me I would never improve as a writer.
You thought that I used tricks like larger margins, bigger font, and too much space between paragraphs to make my paper longer: I DIDN'T. Those pages were written well within the constructs you laid out for us. I didn't quit when you called me out in front of the class that day....
There was only one time in my life that I did quit writing...I gave up my creative writing the day that you told me I'd never do better. I dumped my notebook in the trash in your room that day. The one with a partial story written, and plot points mapped out. That was the one day that your words really got to me. I believed what you said...that I'd never be good....but by whose standards would I never be good? That's right, yours. By my standards I was still a decent writer. So now I'm revisiting those characters and their story.
If anything your criticism pushed me to be a better writer. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for you being so incredibly hard on me. So, thank you. Thank you for not going easy on me. Thank you for constantly criticizing my work, and thank you for telling me I'd never be good. You drove me to be a better writer. You made me want to work harder not just in your class but all the time. You made me take a harder look at myself, my writing style, and my ideas. Thank you.
...but really though, did you have to call me out like that in front of the class...
This post is part of the 7 in 7 challenge I agreed to when Jen posted about it last week. Go check out all of the other bloggers that joined the challenge.