And the Oscar Goes To …

January 28, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Posted in Lollipop | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Around this time of year, I practice my Academy Award speech in my head. You know, for when I win Best Adapted Screenplay. Which I will pen based on my future best-selling novel. Of course.

Always, always, when I practice this speech, I give thanks to the amazing English teachers I’ve been blessed with through the years. The ones who taught me to embrace my creativity — and not to be afraid of doing something differently. The ones who taught me that poetry didn’t have to rhyme. And that sentence fragments were perfectly okay. Ahem.

In third grade, I had a teacher named Ms. Matusiak. She was an ex-nun who played the ukulele and made us bookmarks with Suzy Zoo stickers. We wrote stories and plays and poems while her record player scratched out Miles Davis tunes or tracks from “Nature: Thunderstorms!”

Man, I loved her class.

When I was in college, she mailed a package to my mom that had a few things of mine that she’d saved. A Goldberg-esque inventions book. A report on West Germany. A few chapters from my “Oregon Trail” book, which I’d totally lifted from the computer game where everyone gets cholera and loses their oxen forging the river.

I was amazed that she’d saved these things and had thought to send them to my mom. For the first time — as I was nearing the end of my two decades of public education — I realized that students can touch teachers’ lives, too. That misspelled words in thick, black marker have a charm all their own. That manila paper, no matter how old, keeps the scent of the classroom it came from.

And now, with a child of my own in public school, these memories resurface nearly every day. Every morning, at 7:45 a.m. sharp, she sits in her little blue chair and creates. She cuts and pastes and sharpens crayons. She makes observations and tests hypotheses. She writes and illustrates her own stories.

Like this one:

By Lollipop

Hie. Do you want to name sum made up planits with me?
Planit Bun is qiyite. [She’s mastered irony at age 6. Planit Bun is never quiet.]
Planit flowr is a flowr.
Planit Bunny olwis ses hipite hop.
Planit Line is a line.
Planit Potchan is havig a partty.
Planit Nuthing is tinee.
Planit Qweshtin is a Qweshtin?
Thers an alein and it is …  [lift-the-flap] YOU!

Maybe it’s the wobbly letters and the sounded-out words. Or the staples and masking tape arranged just so. Or the mixed-media magic of marker and pencil and highlighter. But it does my soul good to see that Lollipop has the same creative spirit that has nourished me all my life.

I can’t wait to hear her Academy Award speech.

How have teachers shaped your creative life? Have you ever visited Planit Potchan? And how does your Oscar acceptance speech go?? 



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  1. I’ve never imagined such a speech, but I am apt to start wondering now!

    Rather than teachers, this makes me think of a neighbor of mine growing up. When my sister and I would sell our poetry books and stories, she word occasionally buy them. Maybe 15 years ago, she brought them to Mom in a manila envelope; she’d been setting them aside for ages so we’d have a few to which to return. Unfortunately, my mom destroyed these in her later mental illness, but their being physically gond can’t remove the joy of discovering our neighbor’s care.

  2. Wow! I’m impressed. I know she probably didn’t mean to be funny or ironic, but she certainly has potential!

  3. I love the phonetic spelling here! Such a cute age!

  4. Haha, I never thought I’d admit to rehearsing Oscar speeches!! For me, best actress…but usually because I’m fantasizing about starring together with a celebrity crush…

    I had a teacher like yours too…she was my 2nd grade teacher and bought me my first blank journal and pulled me off to the side to teach me cursive writing, poetry and crochet. For years and years even when I was no longer her student she’d send me books and postcards from the many countries she’d travel to. At 75, she is still in my life, having never missed a birthday or Christmas since I was 8 (!!)…she nows sends books every year for my son’s birthday. A few years ago she sent me the page of poems I had written for her when I was 8. I had not realized until recently that my love for writing and reading had come from her.

    I love your daughter’s poem, and I know that for us writing and creative moms, seeing our own children’s budding creativity is one of the happiest things ever. Your post resonated with me a lot, down to the spelling in Lollipop’s poem! 🙂

  5. When I win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, will I have to give a speech?
    Love that you passed down that gene.

  6. The teacher I remember best was my art teacher. I went to her house every afternoon after school, along with several other art students, all older than I. She was the sweetest woman, very loving and patient, and she would read to us about famous artists while we worked. Once she took me to the museum–just me, because she saw that little spark in me that had the makings of an artist. I think about her often.

  7. That is pretty precious. Start saving everything in that art folder now for life-time memories…

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