When I was in first grade I had to write a story about someone I both liked and didn’t like. I wrote an essay about my grade school principal, who was also a friend of my parents’. I said that he seemed nice and he should be our pal, but that I didn’t like him because he gave spankens (sic).
The essay got my teacher’s attention, and she showed it to the principal. He called me into his office, and I stumbled down the hall on my shaky, spindly legs until I reached his door. I had never been called into the principals office before.
I almost fainted when he called me in, and I sat trembling in front of his desk while he read my essay aloud. I wanted to melt into the floor.
When he got done he smiled at me and said “You’re a pretty good writer.”
That was the first time I was ever complimented on something that came directly from my own brain. It was a pretty cool feeling, and I’ve been chasing it ever since.