Mike Writing Recordings
About This Show
Mike Writing is a site created by Michael Wright, free lance writer, artist, orator, and inventor. He has created audio recordings of his posts to make available an accessibility option and to reach the on-the-go readers. Join the discussion at MikeWriting.com.
Most Recent Episode
Thank You, Mrs Byington
10th grade. On the bus to school, I remembered that Mrs. Byington had challenged us to memorize Marc Antony's famous eulogy for his freshly deceased homeboy Julius Caesar. 20 or 30 bonus points – serious money - were offered to stand in front of the class and give Caesar a proper send off. I wanted those points, I wanted to impress Mrs. Byington, and I wanted to have remembered before that day started that the speech was due that morning.
Mrs. Byington was a petite blond woman who taught English. Thinking back now about her stature in comparison to high school kids, she was seriously small. She had no problems commanding our attention and asserting authority in the classroom, however. She kept her word, of course, and the handful of us that braved reciting the speech got to bask in our sweet, sweet bonus points.
I used the bus ride, breakfast, and 1st period to memorize the speech before English class – somewhere around 2 hours (one of my bragging points about the feat is how long it took to memorize it). Truth be told, the speech was written with a certain rhythm that made it less difficult to memorize. I was impressed if no one else was. I had pushed myself beyond what I knew I was capable of.
How dare you dare me to excel??
Sometime before the speech, on the back of a graded writing assignment (I don't recall the topic), Mrs. Byington wrote a note suggesting I join the Journalism Club. The word journalism wasn't in my vocabulary yet, but I understood the meaning by the context (ironically, there's a word for deriving the meaning of a word by contextual clues that's not in my vocabulary at the moment). But what the heck does the journalism club do? She explained they were in charge of yearbooks and the school paper.
I remember thinking how boring it sounded. I didn't buy yearbooks. I probably didn't know anyone in the club, and cool kids couldn't possibly be writers. I didn't read the school paper. I didn't read anything outside of what was required. I was curious, sure - but not enough to take a step forward and see what the club was about. I declined quite swiftly. Young fool.
How could it feel to see a glow, a flame in someone, reach out for it, then watch it smothered from dirt kicked by that person's own boots. There I was a student being challenged by a teacher to explore a gift. I had no idea how great stepping out of your comfort zone can be for growth. I didn't know ho