At Lincoln High School, I was a shy, anxiety-ridden adolescent. Miss Moyes was my English teacher. She often called on me to read aloud in class -- a special hell for a wall flower who wanted only to go unnoticed. Miss Moyes gently bullied me into joining the school speech team. This organization promoted competitive speaking, or forensics, with meets throughout the Oregon region. The teenagers who participated in this mental blood sport generally wanted to be attorneys or CEOs, and the first time I spoke, I threw up in the bathroom afterward. But like a bolt from the blue, I found I had a talent for writing speeches, and this helped me come out of my shell and express myself. Frankly, I learned to kick some ass on the speech team.
Mrs. White was just as influential in her quiet, supportive way. I always felt safe in her class room. We were a tight little bunch of creative writers, and Mrs. W. was our protective mother hen.
A few years ago, I took a continuing education class from Sharon Jarvis. I had just finished my first women's fiction novel, and I had no idea what I was doing. Book writing was completely new to me. Under Sharon's tutelage, I learned that my story was completely wrong. I'm not kidding. If there was a mistake you could make, it was in there. I needed this instruction. Badly. It made me look at writing with new eyes and gain a fresh passion for the craft. Sharon Jarvis, you saved my bacon.
I owe each of these teachers a great debt. They helped me at the precise moment I needed help. I doubt these women will ever know the full ramifications of their kindness. God bless the dedicated teacher.