Growing up, only one person encouraged me to be a writer and that's my tenth and twelfth grade English teacher, Mrs. Markovich, who was Japanese and born in the internment camp in Fresno, CA. She would work creative writing into our essays in any way she could. One red ink comment on an essay said, "Either quit talking to Erin or loose the nose ring. You're pushing it." The comment on the next essay said, "You should pursue a career in creative writing." I was 15, so at the time I paid more attention to the bossy comments. For the record, I neither took out the nose ring nor stopped talking to Erin. Not then. Not now.
It amazes me that someone told me what I should do at such a young age. I tried to fit myself into other boxes and didn't really internalize my "destiny" until I was 20, but those words are part of what got me to accepting my novel-writing fate. I can still picture her loopy handwriting in the margin of my essay about the difference between my mom's antique porcelain cows and the new funky clay ones, about the story each cow in the collection had to tell.
The next person to heavily influence my decision to be a novelist, and not just a journaler (because I've always Always kept journals on my own), is my husband. He takes the starving out of artist. He oversees all of my plot decisions. Sometimes he overrides me and sometimes I override him. Together, we keep my books from falling to their death off of cloud 9.
In Mrs. Markovich's class during senior year, I wrote an essay about my (at the time) fatherless state of being. I worked at Macy's and helped a man pick out clothes for his fifteen year old daughter. I watched on with something like envy, bittersweet and wistful. I wasn't the only one. All the worker girls were looking on in awe. It wasn't the shopping that got us. It was the sweetness. How comfortable they were together. I wrote about that moment and how boys didn't like me as much as other girls because my father wasn't around. I was a seed that got stepped on and I needed a man to water me, to make me grow into a beautiful flower that others would notice. I was a very odd sixteen year old, I know.
From all this, stems what I once thought would be the dedication in my first book:
To Mrs. Markovich, for planting the seed
and to Gabriel, the one who watered me.
As you can see, it means a lot and it makes perfect sense. But now I'm not so sure. Shouldn't the first dedication go to your mom? Shouldn't everything go to your mom? She has encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be, but always jokingly pushed me to be a journalist and be on TV.
Now I have a slew of people who encourage me.
All this is to say is that I'm not sure what my first dedication would be. It is obviously not something to dwell on. Don't worry folks, I actually do write. But its the little things that make up a big dream, and I know I'm not the only unpubbed writer to wonder what that mostly blank page will say.
Have you given thought to your first dedication? If you're already pubbed, was the dedication important to you or something to make light of? Who did you dedicate to and how did you choose that person?
P.S. No matter who I dedicate my books to, rest assured that I will track down Mrs. Markovich and send her a signed copy of each one.
P.P.S. I blogged about a teacher on Monday. Maybe its Teacher Appreciation Week in some other universe and this is the first sign in what will be the sci fi novel of my life that I am actually an alien.