Each Thursday, I post some thoughts or bits of books or poetry I am working on.
—I call them “thunks.”
When I was a wee girl, I wrote a lot of poetry. Unlike Charlotte Bronte, physical evidence of my brilliant young mind is lost to the ravages of time and disinterested adults (apparently! But I am not bitter…). In first grade, so the story goes, I presented a poem to my beloved teacher, Miss Kinnin. She read it and was astonished (well, I like to imagine her astonishment at discovering a six-year old budding poetess at Broad Brook Elementary School). She asked me how I came up with it.
“I just thunk it up in my head!”
Okay, so I was not a grammar expert at six. But I love that story and that little girl who was thinking some creative thoughts and putting pen to paper and then blithely sharing it with someone else. No doubt, I trusted Miss Kinnin and valued her opinion. Though I couldn’t tell you if I wanted her to bestow honor or if it was my nerdy version of Show and Tell (I have zero recollection of the poem, so its literary quality is anyone’s guess).
My point, and I do have one, is that every young student needs a Miss Kinnin—an observant, caring teacher who notices a child’s talent or even benign interest in something and then encourages its development. I was blessed with a few versions of her throughout elementary school, but had fewer in middle and high school. And by the time a girl hits those dreaded middle school years, freely sharing one’s inner thoughts—like those in a poem—often happens less and less (#mortifying).
I was told another story about my eight-year-old self writing a poem in honor of my uncle graduating from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. (This uncle rattles off Shakespeare and Gaelic like no one else I know, and I’d say he was a bit of a prodigy—in a future Thursday Thunk, I may share a hilarious story involving his skipping piano lessons my grandmother was paying for.) This piece featured a wise owl and this time there was astonishment that an elementary student produced it.
I wonder if my current love for owls began with that poem all those decades ago (I’ll leave you guessing as to the number). But I do know that my love for writing can be traced back to teachers who encouraged me like the loving Miss Kinnin, the cool Miss Pave (fourth grade), the fierce Mr. Friend (yes, that was his name and he forced us in seventh grade to take copious notes in social studies so we would be better writers in high school), and high school English teachers Maggie MacAlpine and Michael Salvatore. I still write some poetry but it is more often a limerick (I dearly love to laugh*). In honor of Miss Kinnin, wherever she is (I hope alive and well, among adoring fans), I share a more serious one below:
There once was a six-year-old poet who thunk up a thought and then wrote it. She read it aloud and saw her teacher was proud. "I think I'm a writer," she noted.
- Which favorite teacher of yours came to mind as you read this post?
- How have you been encouraged by another person to develop a talent or interest?
- Each of us is gifted by God in some way. Sometimes we may identify a gift in others before they can see it for themselves—who can you encourage today by speaking up about what you’ve noticed?
*Image from http://prideandprejudice05.blogspot.com/2017/06/pride-and-prejudice-quotes-from-novel_5.html The lovely painting of our former home near the Eire Canal is by my talented friend Bonnie Maurer. She captured it perfectly, including Owliver (see my post, Got Wisdom? Part 1, for his story) and she whimsically added a crown in honor of my fledgling scone business, The Queen's Scones. Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing your art so generously with the world!