During my grade school years teachers gave up trying to teach me to write cursive. My penmanship was so bad they could not read what I wrote.
They finally threw up their hands and said, “Evan, just print.”
But, even with printing, my penmanship was almost unreadable. I got by, but just barely—and only with the help of teachers with kind hearts.
Penmanship was only part of the problem. More serious than penmanship—I just could not spell. I couldn’t even come close enough to look up the word in the dictionary. Consequently, I would only write if it were absolutely required for a passing grade.
Of course this was before computers and spell check. But, to my credit, I took typing and passed the class by meeting the required 35 words per minute without error.
Because I couldn’t spell and couldn’t write legibly I did not write anything unless it was necessary for a passing grade in school or required as part of my employment. I felt I couldn’t write—and I wouldn’t!
I managed by having others do my writing for me—mother, wife, or secretary. I could dictate what I wanted to say—but writing it was impossible.
Then came the day that changed my life.
I was publisher of Alaska Outdoors magazine. We were on a tight deadline. With only one hour until the required elements needed to be in a FEDEX package and off to the printer, we discovered we were three pages short of enough material to fill the magazine.
We needed something and we needed it fast.
I was the only one who could make it happen. I sat down at the computer, said a prayer, and proceeded to write about a fishing experience I had enjoyed at Rainbow Bay Lodge.
As I typed the story I could read and edit it. Spell check let me find and write the words I wanted. Within 30 minutes I had the story.
Before giving it to the design folks I read what I had written. When I came to the article’s end I began to cry. Not only was it a great story to read, but also I had accomplished something I never thought was possible.
I had written a publishable, readable story; something others would enjoy and appreciate.
Since the emergency Rainbow Bay article for Alaska Outdoors Magazine I’ve written hundreds of stories, radio show scripts, TV and video scripts, blogs, and even a few books.
Indeed, that 30-minute experience changed my life forever—I was a writer.
Mrs. Reynolds, my high school English teacher, would be amazed and pleased.