Lambs in Spring
Little white balls of beautiful fluff,
Bouncing and prancing and that kind of stuff.
Baaing and whimpering here and there
Sometimes they’ll do nothing but stop and stare.
Crying for mother on a lovely spring day,
Mother comes running; decides to stay.
Bounding and twisting round and round,
Looking for something no other lamb’s found.
This is the first poem I remember writing.
I was 10 years old at the time and my form teacher at school had issued a challenge during an English lesson to write a poem for spring. It would have been this time of year, in fact.
I wrote it. Handed it in.
A few days later the teacher was distributing the marks and asking some of us to read our poems to the class.
On my paper he’d written “Very Good!” but in front of the class he asked me, “Are you sure you didn’t copy this from somewhere?”
I was a tender and insecure child being raised in a broken home and in the shadow of my mother’s operatic glory. To have the light shone on me at all was difficult enough but to be accused, perhaps even in jest, that the work I’d handed in was not my own totally mortified me. I defended myself, of course, and he seemed to accept it, but I have never forgotten how ill it made me feel to have someone question my integrity as a writer.
I know this poem by memory. To me it is one of my greatest early writing achievements. If I ever publish a proper book of my best poems this will have pride of place on the first page.
All other writing has sprung from this creative moment. It was the first time I saw myself as a writer and, ironically, the first time (and hopefully the last time) I was accused of plagiarism.
There was a huge gap of time before I was able to see myself as a writer in adulthood. Though I kept journals and occasionally wrote poetry I had disassociated when I was growing up so pursuing dreams and cultivating my talents was beyond my comprehension or ability.
It wasn’t until a kindly woman, my boss at the time, gave me a good, swift kick in the proverbial derriere (I was in my late 20s) that I began to awaken from my deep creative malaise and see myself as a writer, perhaps for the first time. I was working as her administrative assistant in the corporate relations department of a real estate association, and she saw something in me she thought needed cultivating. However, she had to threaten to fire me before I was able to wake up enough to see it myself.
This incredible woman waded through the muck of my unconsciousness to find something long hidden and almost lost, and gave me the opportunity to reclaim it. She taught me how to build an employee newsletter ~ research, write, edit, produce. It started at four pages and, as I got the hang of it, quickly grew to eight pages. Circulation about 150. I learned quickly and loved doing it. In time I was promoted to Editor of the association newsletter ~ a weekly publication circulated to more than 25,000 realtors in the Greater Toronto Area.
I suppose I share this to demonstrate the difference people can make in our lives, and to demonstrate that if we can only get out of our own way we might resurrect an important piece of our life puzzle.
Had my school teacher been more supportive and understood me and my life situation better he might not have been so free with his accusation and I might have had more confidence to pursue this obvious talent. There was no one at home to do this, so left to my own devices, confused and with nowhere to turn, my only alternative was to let it go. Even as a child it hurt too much to have my integrity questioned.
But, as I’ve learned, it takes just one person to see potential and show you what’s possible for you to start believing in yourself. And, as I am learning again in these middle years while pursuing a long-lost equestrian dream with a new coach, this can happen at any time in your life.
Thanks for visiting …
©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014
Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections
12 thoughts on “Resurrection”
Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Be well, Dorothy
profound words and lovely poem from your youth – as one who is also chasing a dream and facing the challenges of believing in one’s self in her mid life it is comforting to read of others words – yes we say why not?
Often, it is a poem or a short story that we wrote when we were children that starts everything. I was hoping that your teacher would have been supportive. Some are and they leave a lasting impact on us. Some aren’t, like yours, but you’ve got another chance, which is great. Thank you for sharing this personal experience.
Thank you for stopping by to read. … Perhaps the lesson in here for all of us to be mindful of our interactions with others, especially with the young who are generally still finding their feet in this world and who may not necessarily get the support and guidance they need at home to feel their confidence. I understand my circumstances and the focus my mother had to have on her career in order to put food on the table. Still, if there’d been just one person in my camp to help me not to take this teacher ~ who I actually liked and which made his comment all the more difficult to understand ~ so seriously. … Still, that’s all behind me now. If the talent is there, it’s there, and will rise to the surface again with the right opportunity and encouragement. Though I am not in touch with my old boss anymore, it still makes me tearful at times that she cared enough to show me a different and more empowered way of being. That was the beginning of my great awakening, and as painful as the journey to self-realization has been at times I would rather that than the doomed path I was travelling before she made me see the light. … Thanks again for stopping by. Be well, Dorothy.
Even the teacher who was so cruel with his accusations served as a catalyst for you to launch your writing talents. And how true it is that people can make the difference. A mentor who sees that little light and allows it to grow brighter is the angel in our lives. I had one of those too so I totally relate to this post.
It took me until my late 20s to trust anyone to mentor me. People tried to reach me and I was so “absent” from my life I had no idea how to connect or accept that anyone would care enough about me to help nurture my talents. With Susan, my boss, all of that started to change and it’s been an ongoing journey to self-awareness ever since. Now I find myself surrounded by a network of supportive people (including lovely blog followers such as yourself ~ thank you! 🙂 … ) and I have never felt so present and able to appreciate who I am. … You are right, that teacher was a catalyst. However, he was also an obstacle. It is important to know how to praise and then get out of the way so the recipient of the light can continue to shine. And I’m so glad that you had your own angel to light your way. You are fortunate indeed. 😉 … Thanks again for stopping by … Dorothy