Inspired by The Write One

“There’s one story in your heart that must be written!” The words linger ever nearer as I write each story in my journal. Even more, as I write a book, a short story, or an article for publication, each time, I wonder, is this the story that must be written?

Is that the only story in my heart? Or more, is that THE story I must write?

Then I remember, the quote says, “There’s one story in your heart that must be written!” but it doesn’t say, there’s ONLY one story.

I remember the moment I told her I wanted to be a writer. I’d been writing in a journal for almost three years by the time I got to that class. She stood in the front of the whole class pointing to the blackboard, talking about a coming event that we’d all be participating in, and I remember she looked right at me. “Janet, what is it you want to do when you grow up?” Almost everyone else in the class had already answered the question, and it was my turn.

“I want to be a writer.” I answered slowly, waiting for complete silence before I spoke. The whole class looked at me and waited.

My teacher stood there a moment and said, “What would you like to write?”

“I want to write a book that makes people happy, tells a story, and gives answers to questions.” I looked out the window at the clouds drifting past in the clear blue sky. “I want to write about sitting on a cloud and watching the world go by, and I want to write about the sunrise and sunsets.”

“That will be a wonderful book.” My teacher smiled at me and put the chalk on the ribs beneath the chalkboard. Her eyes were kind and gentle. I remember thinking sometimes she looked like an angel with her hair piled up in curls and the soft lights glowing through it like a halo.

Christmas came a few months later and everyone got a present from the teacher. My present was nearly flat, just an inch thick and something moved along the side of it. I carefully opened the present, pulling the tape off the paper and folding it flat with the ribbon on top. Then I opened the front page of the book, a hard cover journal with blank pages, except for one.

“There’s one story in your heart that must be written!” The words were written on the front page of the journal, along with my name and her signature, followed by Christmas 1969.

When we returned from Christmas break my teacher had taken a leave of absence and I never saw her again. The journal I received for Christmas that year was the only Christmas gift I ever received from a teacher that was specifically for me. The pen was a blue fountain pen with cartridges that she’d used most of the year, inscribed “The Write One”. In May, when we attended her funeral as a class, I carried a small scrap of paper I’d cut from parchment. As I passed her casket, I laid that piece of paper near her hand and left it there.

The paper said, “Thanks to you, I’ve been inspired by The Write One. Janet M.”

This is a special memory from childhood, one I think of occasionally, as I pick up the pen from my desk. The cartridges are getting harder and harder to find, but I still find them, and I still use that pen – The Write One.

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