Mrs. Williams taught all the fun subjects (writing and not-math and almost-time-to-go-home) in the afternoon during fifth grade. Mrs. Williams was the first author I ever met. She’d stand in front of class, grinning grinning grinning, waving arms faster than a propeller—and if all authors had fun like this, authors were cool.
I wrote my first book in her class. All fifth graders wrote and illustrated their own books to be on display in the elementary library. I believe the requirement was ten pages. Mine was around twenty-five. Most kids wrote about a pony or their family. Mine was about a special agent who leapt off buildings and traveled to Africa and discovered a massive diamond. Mrs. Williams taught me writing is fun.
On future Back-to-School nights, I always made sure to stop by Mrs. Williams’ room to tell her of my writing progress. Whether scribbled never-completed fairy tales about twins (I went through a twin-envy faze at age eleven), or placing second in a junior high poetry contest, or writing articles for the high school newspaper, Mrs. Williams always encouraged me to keep going.
Though I haven’t spoken to her in a while, I never would’ve discovered writing without her presence in my life.
Thank you, Mrs. Williams, for showing me the world of words.