Two teachers in particular inspired me to become a writer - my sixth and seventh grade language arts teachers. I adored going to their classes. My sixth grade teacher was the one who first made me realize I could write. Under her direction, our class was the first to start a "newspaper" at our middle school. I remember how much I loved receiving my assignments and working on them during her class. Also, she made everyone enter a writing contest that year. I was nervous about submitting my entry, but she was so encouraging that I forgot all about my nervousness. I even won! Yeah, that was the very first time I thought I might actually be a writer when I grew up. My seventh grade language arts always made me smile. She loved every writing assignment I turned in, and I remember she even read some of mine out loud to the class. It totally embarrassed me, but at the same time I loved the attention. And at the end of the year during the middle school awards ceremony, she presented me with the language arts award for seventh grade. I'll never forget that because she announced to the entire school that some day I would become a writer, and she told me to include her in the acknowledgements of my first book. I've never forgotten that.
So thank you, Mrs. Joyner and Miss Deal. Thank you for your steadfast faith in a young girl's writing ability. Thank you for fanning a flame that has never gone out over these many years. Both of you will most definitely be in my acknowledgements. One day.