My theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year is a mishmash of books, movies, writers and TV shows that have in one way or another taught me something about writing and helped me be a better writer. Some inspired my own stories and a few taught me what not to do. Each post is a one minute lesson on writing. I'm also participating in the challenge with the other co-hosts over at the IWSG blog where I have some everyday inspiration to talk about.
I was in the fifth grade when I found a battered copy of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle on the shelves where my teacher set out her own books for us to borrow. This book was the first speculative fiction book that I read. Nobody called characters geeks during those days but that's exactly what Meg and Charles were. And I loved them. I loved their adventure to other worlds with their mixture of futuristic science and things that could only be magic. YA wasn't even a genre at the time but A Winkle in Time was the book that launched a lot of preteens and teens into a livelong love of the science fiction and fantasy. The main characters weren't superheroes. They were regular kids with real lives, yet they rose to the challenge and won. Madeline L'Engle was ahead of her time in this award winning book. I was grown up before I realized she'd written more than one book. Of course, I bought the entire series for my daughter.
Lesson: It's okay to blur that magic/science fiction line if you write a great story. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and from all kinds of families. One book at the right time, can turn a child into a lover of the written word.
On a side note, when I was in elementary school, my poor little tiny country school didn't have its own library until I was in 6th grade. That wonderful 5th grade teacher gave me a real gift with the books she allowed me to borrow. Years later when I was around 12, I started playing on a women's softball team and this teacher was one of our players. We ended up being very close friends for many years. And wow, could she hit a ball for a country mile. I only hope a few of my students loved me as much as I loved and admired her. Here's to you, Carol Livingstone.
"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints in your heart." Eleanor Roosevelt
Have you read any books that mix science fiction and fantasy? Do you remember the first book that introduced you to your favorite genre? Ever make a friend of one of your teachers? Does your school have a good library?