My earliest memories of writing are poems.
My mother claims she was so proud of me when, at a very young age, I wrote a story that was slightly nonsensical but did have a beginning, middle, and end. But my first real memory of putting words together is sitting at our computer (in the 80s! My parents were on the ball!), typing up a poem I had written for my second-grade class.
In second grade, I went to a magnet elementary school and I had the most amazing teacher ever. She didn’t believe in homework. My creative spirit thrived in her classroom.
It was an assignment, that poem, and I recall it was about the wind flowing through a house. I’m certain I remember that much from rereading it many times; a copy exists in my scrapbook at my grandparents’ house.
Mom and Dad were so proud that we printed out many of those copies on dot-matrix reams, and relatives received the same faded-gray-ink on paper as Mrs. Hilliard.
In fourth grade, I tackled limericks. My wallpaper-bound book was the only piece of nonfiction in my class. A cross librarian helped me figure out the Dewey Decimal number for it while the rest of the students unshelved every book in the school library.
The limericks are pathetically awful, but my teacher – my most-beloved teacher of all time, Mrs. Titus – poured accolades on me for taking a chance.
I wrote many volumes of fiction during my childhood, including Hanson sagas and a series of stories about little girls named after flowers that I told and retold to my little sister in the car.
But these short poems are the firsts, the beginnings, the earliest times I was called “writer.” The etches on my heart speak poetry.