Before you can meet me, you have to meet Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith was my third-grade teacher. He was tall and gangling with straight and messy light-brown hair swept to either side. He wore crinkled khakis, button-down plaid shirts with short sleeves, thick glasses and a thicker mustache, which made him remind me of a walrus. He might have done walrus impressions. Mr. Smith looked goofy, and he was.
Other than teaching me multiplication, division and manners, Mr. Smith helped me learn that I loved writing. He did it by sending me to a workshop for young writers, which took place at a neighboring elementary school, in a lunchroom with white-gray tile floors, white cinder-block walls and no windows. The fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling gave off just enough glow to see the lines on the paper in front of me. Hardly the type of seclusion a writer seeks. But I was nine, so it didn’t occur to me that I was trapped in what I’d today call a writer’s prison. And so it was in this room, a stale, sun-starved collector of unwanted lunch meats, where my internal writing light was lit.
Since, I’ve kept writing. I’ve written about playing one of college basketball’s best defenders one-on-one, a loss that left a room of coaches looking like surrendered soldiers, what happens to donated blood after it leaves the donor and before it reaches a recipient, a female place-kicker, how college coaches monitor their athletes on social media websites, plunging into a near-frozen lake and eight days in a German hospital with E. Coli bacteria swimming around in my stomach.
Thank you for your interest.