Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest - Nonfiction

 
 Today's post is part of the Origins Blogfest, created by DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude, co-sponsored by Alex J Cavanaugh along with Katie Mills aka Creepy Query Girl and Matthew MacNish at The QQQE. 


It's all about our origins as writers, how we chose, fell, or were dragged into practicing the Craft :-)


This was a story I shared on Stuart Nager's blog Talespinning during an interview a few months ago.


I started writing when I was kid. As a matter of fact, much of it would be referred to as fan fiction, a term I didn’t even know existed until a few years ago. My best friend and I would write our own stories based on TV shows (M*A*S*H*, How the West Was Won) or favorite songs (Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, Kansas’ Dust In the Wind). One event that stands out in my memory: in the 5th grade, we were each asked to write a short story for English class. The day after I turned mine in, the teacher called me up and gave me a note to take home to my mother. When I got home, I discovered that the teacher had written her that my story was “far too advanced” for my age, and suggested that it was plagiarized. I was horrified, and my mom was set to storm up to the school and confront the teacher. I begged her not to.
Instead, Mom came up with a better idea.

“Sit down at the table. Write me another story; I’ll enclose a note to your teacher telling her that you wrote it while sitting here at the kitchen table right under my eyes. Then she can judge how well you do. That’s fair.”
I thought she was brilliant. (I still do.)

“But what’ll I write about?” I asked. The other story had been produced after a few days of thought. How on earth would I think up something in just a few hours?

Mom glanced over at our German shepherd, peacefully snoring in front of the fireplace.

“Write about the dog,” she said, turning back to dinner preparations.

My first writing prompt produced “On Thin Ice”, about a girl who is unjustly accused of a crime, runs away in the middle of an ice storm, and is found and saved by her heroic dog. The story won me a prize, but even better was an apology from the teacher and a glowing recommendation for inclusion in a class for “gifted” students (which I unfortunately later came to loathe).

So that was sort of a beginning. I wrote off and on for most of my life, but never took it up seriously until a few years ago. This blog is part of the ongoing process of learning to write, exploring different genres, and honing my skills. If you're new here, have a browse...about 75% of my posts are some sort of fiction, with a few creative nonfiction pieces or interesting photos thrown in the mix. And by all means check out the other Origins blogfest participants.  I think you'll find a wealth of talented, imaginative and supportive people there.

Also, I've added a Featured Authors/Books page (tab at top of blog) if you want to check that out.

I haven't been around much;  been working, doing some research for one or two stories, etc.  Hope to catch up with everyone the end of this month, as I have 2 guest posts coming up in support of the Catch Fire launch.  See you around the blogoverse!


49 comments:

  1. Thanks for the mention, Li. I was happy to host you. More people should be reading your work.

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    1. Thank you Stu :-) Happy to send people your way - some great stories on your blog Talespinning!

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  2. I think your mom had a great idea! Glad that teacher had to eat their words:) Thanks for sharing your origins!

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  3. That's a great story, Lisa! I wish my mother would have been more of that mindset. Alas, she was definitely (well, still is...just no kids in school anymore :) of the "storm in and scream at the administration" mindset.

    Awesome that you got an apology out of it.

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    1. I suppose she knew that storming in and causing a ruckus might just set me up for more problems :-)

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  4. Cool story - always great when you can kick some teacher's ass!

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    1. Thanks Freya. I think what bothered me the most was that the teacher didn't even ask me - just assumed. That was hurtful.

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  5. Your mom is one smart cookie. Bet you're thankful for her.

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    1. Yep. My Mom is also a good friend :-)

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  6. I'm dropping by from the origins blogfest. I love what your mom did. YOu must have felt great receiving that apology from your teacher. :)

    your newest follower,
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. I did feel pretty good! Thanks for following, welcome aboard :-)

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  7. What is with these teachers who assume things are plagiarized? Plagiarism is much more rampant now, in our computer age, yet not always picked up on. Yes, your mom was brilliant to come up with the alternate plan.

    Nice to meet you via the blogfest.

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    1. Yeah, as I replied above I wish that she had at least asked me about the story instead of assuming the worst and sending a note home.

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  8. I remember this story! And inspired by music. After my own heart.
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

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    1. Hi Alex! Thanks, and my pleasure.

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  9. Kudo's to your mom...both defending your honor and fostering your writing ability at the same time. I've felt that same sting of accused plagerism myself! Suck a wonderful addition to the ORIGIN stories today! :)

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    1. Thanks DL! She never put me down and always encouraged me - even when I wanted to be a jockey :-)

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  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, thanks! I love how your mom was ready to rush to defend you. She sounds great and wise to boot!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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    1. Yep, Mom's a sweet lady, but don't mess with the family...
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Your the second person whose teacher didn't believe them. I'm so surprised! I'm glad your Mom defended you!

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    1. I know that cheating and plagiarism occur in school, but the student should at least be able to defend themselves and given the opportunity to disprove the allegations.

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  12. Anyone who writes Led Zeppelin inspired stuff is alright in my book! And I always think of how I can end a sitcom differently. M*A*S*H* is one of the all time great shows.

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    1. A lot of it was awfully embarrassing. Still, it was great fun and I have a lot of happy memories, sitting on the school bus and spinning unlikely scenarios (Hawkeye marries Hot Lips, Radar decides to stay in Korea and be a farmer, one of Frank's kidneys is "donated" (without his permission) to a soldier in need...

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  13. I read this before, and loved reading it again - your mum sounds like a lovable genius!
    Lx

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    1. Thanks Laura. I wanted to write something fresh, but this story just seemed to fit so well.

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  14. Wow....That was a fabulous beginning. And Kudos to your mom for believing in you.

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    1. I owe my Mom a lot :-) Thanks for visiting!

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  15. "An apology from the teacher" -- excellent. I started out with fan fiction too as a kid, but my tales were more like Star Trek rip-offs. =]

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    1. That would be a fun read if you kept any :-)

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  16. Gotta love fantastic mothers! Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Sounds like I should have saved this for Mother's Day! Thank you for stopping by!

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    2. It would have been very appropriate. Haha :) And you're welcome. Thanks for the visit to my blog as well!

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  17. I liked that story. You were lucky to have a smart mom who had great confidence in her child. I would have reacted like her wanting to confront the issue head-on. Mothers can be mother bears.

    Am now following, after that story. Visiting from the Origins blogfest. Nice to meet you.

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    1. Welcome, and thanks for following. Hope you enjoy the stories here. :-) Nice to meet you, and I'll be around to visit!

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  18. That's a great story. :) Hooray for your mom!

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  19. What an inspirational story!! I had a similar story with maths - I got accused of cheating, had to test again in detention and eventually went on to represent my school in some Olympiad and won the prize for highest score.

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  20. Hope your research leads to much fruitful work, Li. And a cute story here!

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  21. What a clever mom! That was a brilliant idea. :)

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  22. That's such a touching story. I'm glad you were able to set the record straight with your teacher.

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  23. How unfortunate to be "rewarded" by being accused of being a cheat! I do hope that teacher either learned to trust and encourge his/her students better, or left the profession altogether. I am glad you had such a wise mum.

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  24. Hi, Li!

    It's been awhile. Your story is really great, as usual :)

    I've been working on some WIPs and have only been blogging some short rants to amuse myself and a few old friends. I learned of the Origins blogfest from your site and posted an old piece - you probably have read it before. It is non-fiction, embellished non-fiction, but factual.

    Anyway, wishing you well ...

    Peace,

    Jackie

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  25. That's a lovely story! I love your mom's solution - and the story about the heroic dog sounds great!

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  26. Ahhh, sweet justice.

    Your story is, indeed, touching! I can only imagine the twisted feeling in the pit of your stomach at such an accusation. Really. Your teacher could have given a little more thought and research before sending a note home.

    Yay, Mom!

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  27. Great origin story!

    Your mom was very wise to just let you write another essay. :-)

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  28. In a round-about way, that teacher probably did you a favour. It probably made you all the more determined!

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  29. You started writing at early age. congratulation great accomplish..

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  30. I absolutely positively HATED the gifted class in my elementary school. All reading and boring work and no fun stuff.

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    1. I don't know anyone who got much from gifted classes - I think it would be better if "gifted" students could just choose subjects that interest them and study them on their own, with guidance from a teacher that specializes in that subject.

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