When I was ten years old, I participated in a gifted program in Dallas, Texas. In this one day per week program, we (me and all the other nerdy types living within an hour of the host school) were given the opportunity to explore subjects outside the normal 'ABCs and 123s.'
Basic computer animation was fun, but back in the early eighties (yes, I'm dating myself a bit here), it was more like coloring in squares on graph paper and moving them across the screen. Our color selection was limited as well. Try creating the awe of the Sistene Chapel ceiling with the standard box of eight crayons! In the end, our giant, squarish brown gorilla snatched a pefectly t-shaped black airplane out of the plain blue sky while standing on a fantastic white rectangular building outlined in black.
We also learned how to take photos from magazines and turn them into transparent slides to be used in the new and high-tech slide projectors. Each slide needed a 2-3 sentence description to be read during the 'big show' at the end of the year. Woohoo! It was quite a party, let me tell you!
Making kites was ok, but not as much fun as the picnic in the park where the kite flying contest was held. A trip to a historic cemetery to take rubbings of grave markers made prior to 1900 was very dark and dreary and right up my alley! Typing class was not very exciting, but I was proud to be the fastest typer in the class! I could type 60wpm before my 11th birthday!
A life changing moment came for me when the poetry and short story writing class began the second semester. We were told that each year, the city published a book and selected only 100 poems and stories written by children 1st through 12th grades. None of this really mattered to me because there were more than 10,000 entries submitted from over 75 schools the previous year. I wrote the poems and stories required for the class and after two months, our teachers selected what they believed were the best and submitted them to the contest. None of us knew which ones were sent in. Our teachers didn't want us to feel rejected if we didn't win. We would only be notified that our poem/story was submitted IF we won.
After another four weeks of waiting, the complimentary copies of the books arrived and the children flipped through them wildly searching to see whose work, if any, had been selected. Then I saw it... right there... on the table of contents... in black and white... MY NAME! My poem had been published! A dream began. I have been writing ever since.
3 weeks ago