November 15, 2015

Remembering Mr. Meginbir - Tracy Krauss

I remember writing a short story in my Grade Twelve English class about a man who lost everything in the 1929 economic crash known as 'Black Monday'. I have no clue what inspired me to write that story - perhaps we were learning about it in Social Studies, but I do recall how frustrated I felt during the writing process.

I recognized the need for more research but didn't have the time (or the inclination...) to dig into the history beyond what I already knew. I was also frustrated with the chore of editing and moving various parts around to better say what I wanted to say. In those days there were no computers, so it was a matter of scratching and scribbling with pen until the pages were riddled with arrows and big bold instructions to INSERT HERE. Typing the final draft wasn't much better, since whiteout could only go so far before one was forced to start over.

The story was good, but the real version in my mind was so much better. Despite my lack of personal satisfaction, my teacher, Mr. Meginbir, praised the story and asked my permission to read it aloud. I grudgingly agreed, feeling embarrassed to have my thoughts on display. Later that year he gave me a brochure for a writing camp. He thought my writing had potential and suggested I check it out. I remember looking at that brochure and wishing... 

I did not go, but the pull was strong. The voice inside my head that said, "You're not good enough," was probably the thing that kept me home. 

However, I think Mr. Meginbir's encouragement was the first inkling that writing was actually a possibility for me. I went on to university that next fall and majored in visual arts, which remained my primary creative outlet for several years. Still, the writing seed had been planted. When I finally gave in and started clacking away, the soil was already ready. It was many more years before I felt brave enough to share my writing with anyone and even more before I saw my words in print. But I see that time in Grade Twelve English as a turning point in how I viewed myself. 

11 comments:

  1. One teacher whose eyes saw potential, and spoke it out loud... It occurs to me that we have that same opportunity over and over - maybe not with kids, but with each other, with our fellow Word Warriors. What I see as an insignificant morsel of encouragement might be the tipping point to take a hesitant writer into the realm of putting it out there. May we all keep our eyes open for such opportunities! And God bless Mr. Meginbir, wherever he may be!

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    1. He was a young first time teacher so probably only five years older than me. He moved the next year, I believe, and may still be teaching. I agree, Bobbi. We just never know how an insignificant comment may affect someone - for good or bad.

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  2. Yes, it is wonderful to have Mr Meginbir's in our lives. And as Bobbi Junior put it, we have opportunity to encourage one another with what could be a tipping point for that day in the word smith! And I agree so often "the real version in my mind was so much better."
    Thanks for sharing today!

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    1. Thanks for reading and responding!

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  3. Tracy, I enjoyed your memory! I read this after I just finished writing and scheduling my post for tomorrow and it's interesting how often our posts have a similar thread :)

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  4. My writing journey also started with my Grade 12 English teacher. Teachers have such an important job and parents have such a huge task making sure the teachers are doing that job right.

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    1. It is a high calling - one which is sometimes lost

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  5. A high school English teacher who saw potential in my writing was also a big influence for me. God bless those teachers who encourage their students. They have greater impact than they will ever know in this lifetime.

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  6. Those Mr Meginbir's in our lives are definitely relevant--just a reminder to each one of us that we should be encouraging others in their writing. Thanks Tracy.

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  7. "Mr. Meginbir's encouragement was the first inkling that writing was actually a possibility for me," you say. Mr. M. saw your potential. The Gage Canadian Dictionary defines potential as, "possible as opposed to actual; capable of coming into being or action." You, Tracy, have taken that seed, perhaps planted by a good teacher, and, with God's help, you have brought it into fruition. You are an actual and successful writer. I think Mr. M would be proud of your accomplishments. God, however, may not yet be done with your growth plan.

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