Living in a small town, every one knew Mr. and Mrs. D.J. My mom and I arrived at the funeral home nine minutes after the viewing began and it took us over an hour to make our way to the front and give our condolences, so it wasn't a surprise to see so many teachers and former students there. Including my second grade teacher.
While in school I had some pretty great teachers. I have to say that I don't include my second grade teacher as one of them. Two weeks into the school year, she called my parent's in for a conference. To make a long story short, she told my parent's I was going to fail. It was a bold statement, especially after she'd only known me for two weeks, but one that stuck with me throughout my childhood and into my adult life.
Why did she say I was going to fail? You see, I can't spell. No, really, I can't. Or not well at least. I wasn't born with what, for most, seems to be a natural ability to sound out words or see how they go together. There are times when I spell something so badly that even Word can't figure out what I'm trying to say.
Over the years, I've gotten better...learned how to manage my shortcomings. Sometimes that means changing words to something I know I can spell. Sometimes it means breaking down and asking a friend how to spell something or looking it up in a manual dictionary.
Why am I telling you this? Because it took me thirty years to write my first story...in part because this woman told me, and my parent's, that I was going to fail.
It turns out that I'm a good storyteller. I may not be a great speller, and I'm pretty sure that I never will be. That doesn't mean I shouldn't share my stories with the world. It just means that I need to make sure I have a good editor to catch all the things I'm going to miss.
A lot of things have changed for me in the last twenty-nine years. I've succeeded at many things, but I've failed just as much or more. The important thing is that we try. Whether that be writing or something else entirely. Learn to play on your strengths and work around your weaknesses.