Sense of Strength: Early Patternings

  1. As a kid, my dad thought my art was neat. That made me feel acknowledged.
  2. I remember one time when he went nuts bringing home classic novels for me to read.
  3. I felt very overwhelmed and flattered about that. I never forgot it.
  4. As a kid, my mother taught me that daydreaming was a sign of laziness.
  5. I remember she’d tell me to snap out of it by reminding me of some chore she insisted she’d told me to do that she hadn’t.
  6. The person I remember who believed in me was Mrs. Geimer, my art teacher.
  7. I remember one time when she was talking to me about why my parents were making me go to a music contest when I clearly wanted to go to a young author’s conference that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to again.
  8. I felt angry about being denied what I truly wanted to do, but grateful for her acknowledgment of my frustration. I never forgot that.
  9. The thing that ruined my chance to be an artist was the effing music program my parents insisted I participate in to be “well-rounded.”
  10. The negative lesson I got from that, which wasn’t logical but I still believe, is that I can’t do what I truly want to be doing and be an artist.
  11. When I was little, I learned that expressing feelings and being honest about those feelings were big sins that I particularly had to watch out for.
  12. I grew up thinking artists were people who weren’t me.
  13. The teacher who shipwrecked my confidence was a guy at Mankato State, actually. There were attempts in high school, but none successful.
  14. I was told that a first draft suggested poor writing. (It was a FIRST DRAFT!!!!!!!!!!!)
  15. I believed this teacher because he was, ostensibly, the expert.
  16. The mentor who gave me a good role model was …. got me. I’m 35, and I still don’t have anyone I’d consider a mentor for my writing career. I still kind of see Ruth as my mentor through simply surviving my twenties. Does that count?
  17. When people say I have talent I think they want to draft me for some excessively difficult and time-consuming volunteer task.
  18. The thing is, I am suspicious that I might actually be good.
  19. I just can’t believe that other people actually get what I really mean when they read my work.’If I believe I am really talented, then I am mad as hell at my mother, father, sister and every teacher who opted to go with the politically favored students over my raw ability.