Then I started thinking and I realized trying to figure out who was my greatest influence in writing wasn't going to be as easy as I first thought.
I was always good at English and Composition according to my early report cards. All the way through both elementary and high school, my marks reflected my love of writing. Math - not so much. But creative writing and oral reading were definitely my strengths.
I attended my first school years in Scotland and although I don't recall names, I remember teachers appreciating my little stories.
Then when we emigrated to Canada, I remember, better, Addy McLeod. Mrs. McLeod was my grade six teacher and was very protective of me. She drove the bullies away who made fun of my British accent and school uniforms. She told me to take no notice of them and to concentrate on my school work instead. I tried. She rewarded me with genuine praise and when she saw I could write, she was always looking for opportunities for me to pursue.
I remember one time when our class had to write speeches. My piece impressed Mrs. McLeod and I was selected as one of the finalists for the public speaking contest that year. Her words still have an impact on me today as I remember how she encouraged me in so many ways - turn the other cheek; be proud of who you are; always write from the heart; enunciate and punctuate, even when speaking.
When I hit high school I also remember well, both Mr. Magee and Mr. Brown. Mr. Magee once wrote on the board, "A gum-chewing girl is like a cud-chewing cow" because one of my classmates was nabbed with her Bazooka bubblegum. He was tough but he was a gem to me. His passion was for Shakespeare and the English language was rampant and contagious. I learned to love it, too. The way he strung words together fascinated me and he often told me how he appreciated my stories.
Then later, as part of my entry exams into the nursing program, I was required to write an essay on some aspect of health or safety. I passed that part with flying colours (I wrote a humorous piece about standing on a razor in the shower) and scored an A+. Later the prof told me it was funny, profound and well-written. It started me thinking!
Then final confirmation that writing might just be a good second career choice, happened after I was married and a stay at home Momma Bear with two busy cubs. I took them to the library one day and it was there I spotted the poster for the county wide contest. I entered it and won!
The path was cleared and my heart was stirred.
One more thing. September 3, 1987 - I gave my life to the Lord and I committed my head, heart and soul. Shortly after that life-changing experience, the doors started to open and bought my first Smith Corona. . .
"Write for Me," He whispered. That's been my greatest influence and motivation, ever since.
“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.” Psalm 45:1