It was the middle of my Advanced English class, and I was silently finishing the in class assignment. Suddenly, my teacher, Mrs. Maman, came to my side to tell me ‘I needed to see her after class.’
No good can ever come from those words. I spent the rest of the hour trying to remember any action I could have taken that warranted a meeting with my teacher. My hands were clammy, and I could barely pay attention. All I could think of was what my parents would do if I came home with a detention.
The minutes crept slowly until the bell finally rang. As my classmates jumped out of their seats to leave, I slung my backpack over my shoulder and made my way to the front of the room. Mrs. Maman stood clearing her cursive writings from the chalkboard with an eraser.
The last person had left, and the door was slightly ajar when she greeted me with a smile. Calmly, she retrieved the stapled paper lying on her desk, and showed it to me.
“Your name wasn’t on it,” she said.
I almost laughed out loud. A no-name paper, nothing serious. Not a detention. No angry parents to deal with.
I apologized and moved to leave when she called me back.
“I didn’t ask you to stay because you forgot to put your name on your assignment. I called you here to tell you that even though you didn’t have your name on your essay, I could tell it was yours because of your writing style.” I took the paper in my hands, glancing at the 100 percent marked in red ink. “You’re an amazing writer,” she said. “Very talented.”
With one last, final smile, I was dismissed, and she returned to wiping away the grammar rules she’d just written twenty minutes earlier.
I couldn’t imagine how she could so easily return to her former task when I was still glowing with pride. I sped walked to reach my next class on time, telling my friends not to worry, that it was nothing—which was a complete lie.
It wasn’t nothing. Mrs. Maman’s words were everything to me. Amazing writer. Very talented.
Throughout my whole life, I had been writing, but I never considered myself a writer. It was just something I liked to do. Crafting the perfect descriptive paragraph, creating fresh, dynamic dialogue, jotting down the beginning to unfinished stories. I did all of that, but I never would have called myself a writer—not until Mrs. Maman.
That weekend, I opened the Word document of what would later be my debut novel, Shattered. As of January 2014, it was just another story that I had started, but that weekend, without really even thinking about it, I curved my fingers over the keys and began to write. As the words flowed from my mind onto the screen, I began to think of my story more as an unfinished manuscript than the insignificant musings of a child.
From 2014 onwards, I wrote and rewrote three editions in total of the same novel until January 2016, when I typed the last word of Shattered: An After Ever Novel and closed my computer.