The first memory I have of writing was in my ninth grade writing class. My teacher, Mrs. Bogle was the first person to show me how to use words to describe my feelings, emotions and senses. I can remember one assignment in particular, she had us write a short story about eating our favorite food. My story was about eating a grilled cheese sandwich and wasn’t one of my greatest works.“Image found at: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=PzIpsJO2ZQfhMM&tbnid=ONyfOTvkI0e-RM:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.averagebetty.com%2Fblog%2Fcelebrate-grilled-cheese%2F&ei=LHYqUp60D4rE2QXt54HQBw&psig=AFQjCNFqWSLl9UwefVToPbkyeGX5V89vpQ&ust=1378600873819247” I believe I made a D on the assignment. After class, Mrs. Bogle asked me to stay after. She asked me why I didn’t describe my experiences better. I can remember not having a clue what she was saying as I thought I had done reasonably well. She went on to ask me specific questions about what I smelled as it was cooking, what I liked about the flavor, what did it feel like when I picked it up and what it tasted like. I answered all of her questions while she was rapidly jotting down things on the other side of the desk where I couldn’t see.Once she was finished she handed me the paper. It was my paper! “Image found at: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=esVIPEaPk27mGM&tbnid=yOBNQkYjZdynXM:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.visualphotos.com%2Fimage%2F2x3715944%2Fteacher_and_young_student_talking_at_her_desk&ei=wHYqUvWnBcr62QWj7IHQAg&psig=AFQjCNHc-X_gNh3axTnHeOPyTutH4BfzEA&ust=1378601021056805” She had written in between my lines and added everything I had recalled. She told me that I should ask myself questions and use those questions to describe my feelings, thoughts and experiences. I still recall this 15 years later. I have used her advice many times in everything from teenage love letters to technical observations and recommendation reports at my current job. That was the last year Mrs. Bogle taught writing at Westville Schools but she made more of an impact on my writing style than any teacher since.
Around the same time I began reading a considerable amount of time. My mom used to read regularly and one day she brought me home a book from the library. It was an older Hardy Boys book and she thought I would like it. “Image found at:https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=1AXhk-ztktdKrM&tbnid=CTxlutYznRYmoM:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hardyboyscasefiles.com%2Fnetwork%2Fcasefiles.php%3Fbook_id%3D002&ei=pXcqUoTyGIqC2AXP2IE4&psig=AFQjCNGub2GqXIrSMFGf52C940HIrKeLlg&ust=1378601251367266” I ended up reading it and became absorbed into Frank and Joes adventures following in their fathers footsteps. I eventually read every Hardy Boys book that our town library had and any that they could borrow from surrounding libraries. I believed this instilled a love of reading that I still have today. I still manage to read about one book per week even with the hectic schedule I have. Reading has became a calm in the storm for me that I will always cherish.
Once I became an avid reader I noticed how different authors use words and phrases to describe different events in their stories, this was the seed that Mrs. Bogle had planted in my young mind so many years ago. I was able to see how their choice of words brought an object to life and how if a few key words were removed from the text the object would loose its detail and slip by unnoticed. After a while I started noticing that the authors I liked to read all had one thing in common, detailed descriptions that allowed me to mentally see and experience the emotions, settings and surroundings of the characters. I have found that if I reread something from years past I can usually find where the author used less detail in the story. I believe that I am constantly searching for authors that can capture my attention with their detailed adventures, biographies and technical books.
I now have a job where I am required to write detailed observation and recommendation reports. When I first started doing these reports my manager explained that I couldn’t be over detailed in my reports. He wanted to end reader to know everything that someone in-person would know. I had a difficult time at first because of a lack of needed detail. “Image found at:https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=1NThHO87zRQW5M&tbnid=k1ABfbnq7JjGXM:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdrumsandwires.blogspot.com%2F2011_12_01_archive.html&ei=pnQqUpWqKcWw2gWnxoD4BA&psig=AFQjCNGjoTblRgZk-K7qJMZgBJSweUkvHw&ust=1378600428319480 “I had to revert back to Mrs. Bogles ninth grade mentoring before I was able to meet the requirements of my manager. I started asking myself questions and these questions led to the needed details that my early reports were lacking.
The more I reflect back on my literacy history the more I can see how specific people have influenced and changed my views on what I like to read, how I write reports and how I judge the quality of what I read. Literacy is something a person never stops learning. There will always be something new to learn, teach, use and enjoy