On Friday I went back to visit my hometown, Huntsville, Alabama. During the drive up I finished listening to Andrea Cramer's Nightshade. Oh my gosh, was my heart in my throat. That was some ending. And then for the remainder of the drive I sang along at full volume to Taylor Swift's Speak Now. I can't say how much I love this album and how it helps me remember what it's like to be a teenager.
In the afternoon, I dined on delicious Thai food with an old high school friend and her hubs. During lunch my friend taps my shoulder and points to someone behind me.
"Hey, isn't that Mrs. Ward?"
As soon as she said the name, I whirled around in my seat. Mrs. Ward was my junior year high school English teacher and was one of my favorites. I turn in my seat and start waving like a lunatic at Mrs. Ward. She stands from her table with a great big smile and a glint of recognition in her eyes. She hugs my friend and I and asks us what we're doing. My friend, in her official business suit, told Mrs. Ward that she worked for the government. Mrs. Ward turned to me, still beaming. There I am dressed in a green cotton knit dress that I picked up in the juniors section at TJ Maxx, black leggings, and silver sequined ballet flats, and this black sweater with tiny woven windows that expose the green bodice of my dress. I'm freakin' dressed like an eighteen year old. I want to tell her. Mrs. Ward! I'm writing! I still remember the Canterbury Tales because of you! And I still love British poetry because of you. I'm writing a book about teens. And I know she would have been proud. But, instead, I pick at the hem of my sweater and mumble something about being an optometrist and working with kids.
The whole afternoon I regretted not telling her. Why didn't I tell her?
I know, why. I still have trouble thinking of myself as a legitimate writer. I know that a writer is someone who likes to write. Someone who maybe pounds away at it a regular basis. Someone who feels like they can't function unless they don't get words on the page. That's me. It's so me. But, it's sometimes just hard to admit to other people.