When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher. I never ever listened to a thing that teacher had to say. Partly because I was in my own little world at that age and struggled to listen to anyone, and partly because when the other kids bullied me for being “weird,” she didn’t do anything about it.
My mom started reading books aloud to me before I could even understand what words meant. She was an English teacher and put a very high value on literacy. So when I was in elementary school, I was reading at a high level for my age. I don’t think it’s because I was “smarter” or anything. I genuinely believe it’s because my mom read books to me.
So instead of paying attention to that teacher I mentioned earlier, I decided it was more fun to immerse myself in books. All the books. Especially fantasy books with dragons in them. Not dragons of the Eragon variety, but dragons nonetheless. I ate them up. The world building of a fantasy novel allowed me to really escape into an alternate reality, and dragons hinted at a power that I simply didn’t have as a strange, bookish kid with no friends. Maybe I’m delving into a bit of child psychology there, but you feel me, right? Right.
I was constantly getting in trouble for trying to read during class. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “John Paul Brammer, put that book away!” I swear I can still hear it in my head exactly the way it was said to me fifteen years ago. When I wasn’t in trouble for reading books, I was in trouble for drawing the dragons from the stories. Well, one time my teacher had had enough. She walked up to my desk, snatched up my drawing, and told me my mother was going to hear about this. She arranged a parent-teacher conference and kept my dragon as evidence of my guilt.
To this day, I don’t know what was said during that parent-teacher conference. All I know is that my mom came home, handed me that crumpled up piece of paper my teacher had taken, and said, “don’t stop drawing dragons, John Paul.”
And after all this time, I still feel like I’m drawing dragons during class. I’m a professional writing major and I’m in the process writing a novel. I called my mom just yesterday expressing doubts about my future, asking her if I really have what it takes to get people to read the things I write. Writing can be a risky profession, and I’m not very good at anything else. She told me, “You were born for this. Of course you can do it.”
When she said that, I couldn’t help but think of that time she said “don’t stop drawing dragons, John Paul.” My mom introduced me to literature, and as a little kid, literature became the thing that I could run to and find comfort in. I want to provide that for someone else. Whether they are five or ninety-five. It’s my dream, and every time I start to doubt myself or wonder if I’m going down the wrong path, I just think…
“Don’t stop drawing dragons, John Paul.”
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- ashleyisaboysnametoo said: UGH. THIS IS GONNA MAKE ME CRY. fuck youuuu.
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- clandestinepen said: Your mother is amazing! That honestly made me all misty eyed. Thank you for sharing.
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