Playful Beginnings: My Writing Career

Today, on the long ago advice of a past teacher, I thought about how far I’ve come in my writing career.  Writing and taking pictures have always been my top two passions in life, which is why I eventually turned my passion into a successful career.

I clearly remember sitting in English class in high school.  At the time, my English teacher was in his first year of teaching, and as such, he lacked experience, especially when it came to writing exercises and assignments.  Although I had an A+ average in the class; the next year I would eventually advance into Honors English.

When it came to high school English class, it’s really a hit-or-miss scenario when it comes to lesson plans.  Instead of being creative, my teacher would assign tired, cliche writing assignments that are typically found in archaic lesson plan books commonly sold to educational institutions.  Still to this day, I remember writing short essays about the produce section of the local supermarket.  Instead of taking on topics that should be discussed, or those that really deserved an essay to be written, I was forced to write meaningless literary fodder, the likes of which that nobody would ever want to read, even if their life depended upon it.

Finally, came senior year of high school, and I advanced into the highly-coveted Honors English class.  My senior year of high school was filled with some really fantastic literary pursuits as far as writing was concerned.  The typical fluff assignments were replaced with essays that would require an entire school week to complete, and were to some degree, worth reading.  In fact, come to think of it, I wish I still had some of the essays I wrote that year.  I wrote brilliant essays, poetry and prose, including short stories, both fictional, and based upon real life events, and everything else it seems.

The teacher who taught Honors English at my high school was also the chair of the English department.  He also happened to be a washed-up hippie left over from the 1960’s Woodstock era, who never once owned a television or radio.  He was a technophobe who believed that everything in life should be lo-fi and mechanical, not digital or electronic.  With more than 30 years experience, he was the one who inspired me to turn my passion into a career.

After long last, I started my first year of college.  Along with all the regular classes, I enrolled in English Composition 101.  After my really awesome high school English class  experience, I thought that since college was generally considered to be higher education that the class would be even more interesting.  The first day of college English class, I was given my first writing assignment; write about the produce section of the local supermarket.


  • Harvey Slatin

    Not all teachers actually see the potential in their students. Most good writers are voracious readers and they learn indirectly from the authors. Writers are compulsive creators of stories, fables, myths and poetry. They can’t help but write: it is as natural as breathing.

    • Thomas

      Hey, Dad! I see that you’ve finally mastered the art of commenting on my blog without asking for help! Thanks for the insight, and I hope you will continue to post more! 🙂

  • Stephanie

    Great post. I was lucky to have English teachers in high school who were very progressive. We had writing assignment on the political events of the day, social issues, etc. Lots of fun and interesting to write.

  • Jennifer D.

    Ah, yes! The curse of the unimaginative English comp. teacher. I was going to college in the late 90s and, as you can imagine, every girl in class thought she was going to be the next Carrie Bradshaw. While we wanted to write about relationships, sex and scandal, we were made to write about… well, the produce section. But with a little imagination, even THAT can be sexy!

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