Who Influenced Your Writing?

When I think about this question, I immediately recall the teachers who influenced my reading...

In grade two, Miss Edwards read to us from Dorothy Wall's classic, "The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill. " We loved it so much we pestered our parents to buy us our very own copies. In grade three, Mr Murphy, who took over from the wonderful Miss Warren read Rudyard Kipling's inspiring story of "Rikki Tikki Tavi" -a brave little mongoose who struggles with the menacing cobra snakes in India. We listened entranced as Mr Murphy skillfully built the tension for his young audience. We craved the next reading installment. The art of the serial story was the spell he wove over us.

In my final year of primary school, Mr Harris, my grade six teacher introduced me to poetry, especially the lyrical ballads of Henry Lawson and A.B "Banjo" Paterson. He shared the vision splendid. We all rleished the opportunity to bellow those famous words- "Murder, bloody murder, cried the man from Ironbark!"

During my high school years John Simpson expanded my view of poetry through the words of Keats, Byron, Shelley and Wordsworth. I have Gerry Noble and Frank Male to thank for introducing me to the words of Shakespeare, increasing my understanding of the classic story teller.

...And while their respective efforts nurtured my love of reading, gradually assisting me to develop into a life long reader, I don't recall any of them as writers. I do recall years of grammatical exercises and occassional requests for essays or literature repsonses. We spent an interminable time practicing the art of the precis. However, I do not recall the craft of writing being passionately portrayed in the same way that reading was presented.

This is not to say their respective efforts with literature have not supported me as a writer. Collectively they awakened me to the power of language. The seeds they sowed all those years ago have borne fruit. They have assisted me to make lasting connections as both a reader and writer. Sometimes the mention of a single word instantly transports to another time and place when those special teachers helped me to connect with the beauty of those stories, those poems.
I regret that I do not retain memories of them as teachers of writers.


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