August 11, 2011

The Inspirational, Mrs. York...

The year 2010 brought about significant change for me. The biggest change came about by my stepping out of my comfort zone and starting The Impulsive Texan. I've wanted to start a blog for some time now, but I was always hesitant, wondering what other people would think. I know that’s inconsequential and shouldn’t matter to me, but for whatever reason, it did.

I wasn't one of the popular guys in school and I came from pretty meager beginnings in a household that would be considered poor by any standards. I had a handful of friends, but few of them lifelong close friends, so with that, my family and those friends were the opinions that mattered most to me. But even that considered, I worried they would have thoughts like, "look who's trying to write now". So if the first few months of The Impulsive Texan are any indication of how it's going to be, then it's gonna be a heckuva ride.

I have had nothing but positive feedback from everyone and loads of visitors to the site since the day I launched The Impulsive Texan. And I have all of you to thank for that. It may not seem like much of a big deal to anyone else to tap out a few words every now and then or to post the occasional picture on a website, but to me, it's a major accomplishment, because, well, I AM the Impulsive Texan. Believe it or not, that moniker wasn't just yanked out of mid air during a high wind. There is a bit more to it than that. I've always felt like that I have had a slight problem with an attention deficit disorder of some kind, because although I happen to be a Master at starting projects, staying focused on a project until completion, well, let's just say, that's a whole ‘nuther story. You’re starting to understand the “Impulsive” part now, I can sense that.

A part of it may also have to do with me being my own worst critic. I nit-pick everything I write to death. My wonderful wife is always saying, "Leave it alone, it's great just the way it is". But I continue to edit, rewrite and fiddle around with everything I put down on paper to the point of frustration sometimes. I guess I should have taken into account, way back in 1975, the encouragement and advice offered to me by a magnificent soul, my favorite teacher, Mrs.York.

I always hurried to her English class, because her classy demeanor was something I wasn’t used to and it was just a bit out of character for “small-town, Texas”. Her smile was genuine and true and always lit up her kind face. She had a low, delicate voice and she often spoke of how we as individuals, managed our own destiny and we alone determined where we would eventually end up later in life. She was an encouragement to me each time I was in her presence and I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to have her for a teacher, for to me, she was the essence of what a teacher should be.

In class one day, she divided the students up into groups of four or five and set a picture in front of each group. It was a creative writing exercise and our assignment was to write one page of what the picture “said” to each of us. We were to create this short story just by looking at the photo and “seeing” what it held. After a tense thirty minutes, I finished my assignment, turned in my paper and readied myself to receive the failing grade I was sure would be awaiting me in tomorrow’s class.

The next day after the bell rang and we all meandered in and were settled in our seats, Mrs. York immediately took a single selection from a wrinkled, but neatly stacked bunch of papers and began reading. After she had finished the story, she asked the class who they thought might have written the wonderful work she had just read. Of course in high school the first names to pop up were the popular ones, the smart ones and even the pretty people were nominated and each time she would say "no, that's not who wrote this". After the class had gone through about 14 of the 20 or so students in the class, she finally asked, "Do you give up"? Of course no one offered to nominate the remainder of us students, because there was no way one of us could have written something like that. I remember vividly the looks of amazement on my classmate’s faces and the red tint poured all over mine as they turned to stare when she revealed that I was the one that had written it. She went on for ten or fifteen minutes about structure, imagery and how the story flowed and how it had described the simple picture in wonderful detail. I didn’t walk out of the class that afternoon instead I floated out on Cloud Nine.

Those few minutes she took out of her day to read my story and shower me with simple, heartfelt praise way back in 1975, has stayed with me all of these years and has always been a motivating factor for me in writing the stories, poems and songs I've penned over the past 30 plus years.

So for 2011, I'm not even going to chance coming up with some useless list of “resolutions” I’d eventually break. Knowing me and my record with projects, I probably wouldn't finish the list anyway. Instead, I'm going to live this year with giving sincere “thank you’s" that are long overdue. And since I’m writing it’s only fitting to send out the first “thank you” to the most inspirational and motivational lady I've ever known. Mrs. York, I send a warm and heartfelt “thank you” for the kind words of personal encouragement you offered me on that day so long ago. I also thank you for always having something nice to say and for the radiant smile you always had waiting for anyone that happened to wander through your day.

So to all of my family, neighbors, friends and all the friends I haven't met yet, may you and yours have a very Prosperous and Happy 2011 and may fond memories of your "Mrs. York" motivate your dreams throughout the new year.

God bless you all,

The Impulsive Texan