Someone recently asked me when I began writing. When I was six, I remember writing and illustrating a story about a few bees and some flowers. I'm sure it was very simple, but I was so proud of my finished work. I don't know what happened to that very first work, but writing has been in my blood ever since then.
In junior high, our teacher told us to write a short story as an assignment for English class, and I wrote about a little girl who went through a closet in her teacher's classroom and was transported back in time. I had so much fun with that assignment, and I remember feeling great pride in my finished work. My teacher and friends thought that it was a pretty impressive effort for an 8th grader. In college, I wrote most of a YA novel on my very first computer only to have it disappear off the diskette I had been saving it to, and in discouragement, I didn't write for several years. I wasn't exactly technologically savvy back then, so I had never saved it to the hard drive or printed a hard copy.
At Mississippi State University, I took a class in creative writing under Richard Lyons and found joy in writing poetry and short stories. Then in grad school at MSU, I took Craft of Fiction with Mike Kardos, and the writing bug really bit me again. I still have the pieces I wrote for his class, and someday soon, I plan to revisit them, edit and revise, and try to publish some of those works. What I learned in those classes helped me teach writing to high school students when the administration asked me to do a Creative Writing class of my own for a while. I currently teach Introduction to Theatre, and we do a good bit of writing scenes and plays in the class.
Interestingly enough, I have been working on research for a children's book about bees, so I guess I've finally come full circle. That little girl interested in nature and flowers and bees is still hiding somewhere inside me. I hope to bring a little of that wonder and beauty into the hands of children with my book.