Since I was a young girl I have wanted to be a writer. I filled journal, after journal, after journal. Becoming a writer is still my dream, but now that I am an adult, it feels a little more distant, like it’s something that might not actually happen.
Most of what I have written over my life time are daily reflections in my journals. In high school, I took a stab at writing short stories for my English classes. There are three classes that stand out from my high school years, two of them were taught by one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Barry Grimes.
Mr. Grimes was my English teacher during grades 10 and 12. He introduced me to a diverse range of writers, not just in styles but also in culture. His teaching style was about bringing out the life lessons hidden in the books and making us think about how the stories we were reading connected to our own life and our own stories. Of course, we were all young so most of his teachings eluded us, but he tried nonetheless. Mr. Grimes was peculiar. He carried three small notebooks in his back pocket, he used to record things through out his day. He had very sloppy hand writing, but I got used to it. He wrote on a chalkboard, when most teachers were using white boards.
In his class, I read books like The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Farewell to Manzanar, and Braided Lives: An Anthology of Multicultural American Writing. We also got to write our own short stories, emulating the writing styles of the authors we were reading. Mr. Grimes liked my writing and ignited in me the belief that maybe I too could be a writer some day.
The other class that was formative for me was a Latino Literature class I took in my junior year (11th grade) with Mr. Bodeen. In his class I was introduced to many Chicano authors like Gloria Anzaldua, Tomas Rivera, and Rudolfo Anaya. In his class I read one of my favorite books: Bless Me, Ultima. In his class I also wrote some short stories and learned that my cultural background provided me with a lot of creative material.
Did you take any classes during high school that had an impact on you? Share your stories in the comments!