Today’s post finds me with feelings of gratitude and nostalgia. You see, I bumped into my former English Teacher yesterday at the market. This was something I was not expecting, and what a wonderful encounter it was!
It has only been in the last few years that I realized how much of an impression the books we read in 9th grade made on me. In 9th grade English, we read, among others, Romeo and Juliet, The Spoon River Anthology, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Each of those works was great in their own rite, but it was how my teacher presented them to us that made me think about them.
When I say “think about them”, I mean after class was over…long after class was over. Like, YEARS after class was over, Through the years, I have wondered why those works stood out to me in 9th grade. I have since learned it was a variety of things.
- They are each really old. Romeo and Juliet was first published in 1597, Spoon River Anthology was first published in 1915, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was first published in 1798.
- All three of them have a rhythm and structure to the text. Poetic.
- All three of them allow the reader to get to know the characters on a deep level.
The Rime, specifically, has kept me coming to reread it back through the years. Its themes made such an impact on me. It’s kind of sad though, because I find that not many people seem to be familiar with the work. When I bumped into my former English teacher yesterday, all of the excitement and passion I had about The Rime came flooding back. That is a really special thing. When you read or hear something that stays with you for the rest of your life, that’s powerful.
So many students in my class would cringe at the thought of reading Shakespeare aloud in class, or any poetry for that matter. I have no idea why. Poets have an ability to not only convey a message to the reader; their work is structured, rhyming or not, in such a way that the poem’s meaning goes even deeper. At least for me. My 9th grade English teacher had a passion for it, and that passion for those works rubbed off.
So, it was a true gift to see my 9th grade English teacher at the market. She is in her seventies now, and looks amazing! Right there in the soap aisle, I got to thank her for all of the stuff we learned in her class. I got to show may gratitude.
If there is someone from your past that had an impact on your writing life in a profound way, let me know. Today I’m all about inspiration.
Thanks for stopping by today, and leave comments below.
Another absorbing article, Susan.. I don’t recall ‘The Rime…’ from school-days, but know what you mean. Some words and images stay forever in the far corners of the brain. My lasting poem is ‘Hiawatha.’ Our teacher Miss Jones read it so musically and rhythmically to make it memorable..As for novels, I read ‘Jane Eyre’ in my teens, and Charlotte Bronte’s amazing story has remained one of my firm favourites and spurred me on to write one day…Although aware of her and John Steinbeck’s prowess with a pen, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get even close to writing like either of them…Imagine my absolute joy and shock – having just written a short story – on reading J. Steinbeck for the first time – and discovering a paragraph describing a sunset which was so like mine it was unbelievable,It really inspired me, and although I do not have grand delusions about my writing ability, it gave me hope.,
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Very inspirational, Joy! It’s a beautiful thing. To have an author whose style you emulate, either by accident or on purpose, is a great compliment to both you and the other author. 🙂 Keep going! I try to find “mentors” in literature often, both contemporary writers and the classics.
As always, thanks for commenting on my post. I hope you have a wonderful day.