The Obligatory Bio:
Linda Duddridge is an introvert who, when not writing characters who’ll break your heart, loves binge-watching shows, reading, and doing jigsaw puzzles. Born in Belleville, Ontario, she grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she studied Justice and Law Enforcement at the University of Winnipeg.
She dreams of having a view of the mountains from her office and thinks it’d be fun to own a cat hotel. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her crazy cats, her husband, and two of their three adult children who’ve yet to move out. Seriously. They’re never leaving.
Why I Write
When I was in junior high, I was a super shy kid who didn’t know how to speak up and ask questions. I was even afraid to ask strangers what time it was, so when our LA teacher gave us an impossibly huge writing assignment, I didn’t dare question her. I hauled my sad ass home, knowing my weekend was ruined. The dreaded assignment? Re-write the ending to the short story we’d read in class. Sure, no problem, right? Sounds fun. Until you learn that it had to be 48 pages long! This was before we had a computer (yes, I’m old, shut up), so those 48 pages had to be hand-written. Due Monday.
It was so unfair! I complained endlessly to my parents. They asked me multiple times if maybe I’d misunderstood the assignment. No way! She had specifically said, “It must be 48 pages.” I remember my dad commenting on how it was a weirdly specific number. I responded with “My teacher is crazy!”
Regardless, I was terrified of getting in trouble, so I sat and wrote those damn forty-eight pages all weekend long. Upon arriving at school on Monday, I was horrified to realize that I had been wrong. So. Very. Wrong. We hadn’t been instructed to write 48 pages. No. We’d been instructed to write 4-8 pages. In my defence, they sound the same. And I was a terrible listener. But still…so embarrassing!
My teacher loved the 48 page ending to the 10 page short story. She showed it to all the other teachers. She wanted me to go around and read it to all her other classes, which I flat our refused to do. She asked if she could read them. Sure. As long as it wasn’t me.
In hindsight, I’m positive it was the volume of pages that impressed her more than any skill in what I’d written, but at the time, it made me feel like I was actually good at something. Maybe extra attention from people wasn’t so bad after all (As long as they didn’t make me talk). What had initially made me hate writing, and could have sent me down a totally different path, ended up making me believe I could be a writer. She planted a seed. Funny how teachers can leave such a lasting impression without even knowing they’re doing it. Thanks Mrs. Weinstein!
Do you have a teacher who influenced your life in some important way? I’d love to hear your story!