R is for Roberts

13th November 2010 125

Number 18 in The A to Z of the Writer’s Affliction, part of the A to Z blogging challenge.

How did it all begin? Were there any early symptoms that, if detected, could have been nipped in the bud? Was I misdiagnosed? Given the wrong treatment? Was I actually encouraged?

Regretfully, yes. Looking back, it all comes down to Mr. Roberts, who asked us to write a poem about autumn. At ten, I’d never thought of writing a poem before, but I knew you had to find words that rhyme and while I was at it, I unwittingly threw in a bit of post-modernist subversion. After much thought, I came up with the stunning title Autumn.

The seasons turn, the world grows old,

The woodland turns from green to gold.

I hate suet. Rice is better.

I mustn’t forget to post that letter.

There were several other verses, but fortunately I don’t remember them. The real problem, though,  wasn’t the poem itself. The problem was that Mr. Roberts liked it. He even sent it off to a poetry competition for 10-year olds. And just like that, I was ruined, lured by the sirens onto the rocks of writing. So really, Mr. Roberts, I know you meant well, but if you’d ripped it into shreds and, with a sneer of disdain, watched them flutter into the waste-paper bin, I wouldn’t now be gripped by this strange compulsion and you wouldn’t be the letter R in the A to Z of the Writer’s Affliction.

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  1. Haha! Apparently there is another affliction that causes otherwise discerning teachers to submit their students’ work to literary publications devoted to students’ work. I was ten when Mr. Epler sent my review of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to Quest Magazine. The first sentence was “Imagine yourself in the jungle.” (I guess I’ve always been fascinated by “imagine”.) 🙂

    • Shock and Awe, Sue! You reviewed Heart of Darkness at age 10. I’ve tried three times to get into that as an adult. Couldn’t do it. I’m impressed. Just stopped by from A to Z. The Bookwright.

      • Hi, Claudia. Thanks for stopping by. Do you have a link to your website? I tried clicking on your user name and the link beneath it, but the go to a “can’t find this” page.”

        I’m pretty sure I didn’t get everything out of Heart of Darkness that Conrad put in it, but Rima the bird girl fascinated me. I read it again in high school and enjoyed it then, too, but probably didn’t use much critical thinking while I did. 😉

    • Wow! Like Claudia, I’m highly impressed. Heart of Darkness at ten – and not just read but reviewed. My little poem becomes even more little… I think at that age I was reading Captain Hornblower.

  2. Very nice homage to Mr. Roberts, Curtis! I really like your 10-year-old self’s poem, too. Understated and funny; one might say Larkin-esque (without the gloom & expletives, presumably)! Or, and this is probably because I listen to them so regularly, it has the cadences and wryness of an early Genesis song or some of the early Gabriel solo stuff. Thank goodness someone with a literary eye encouraged you.

  3. A shout out to Mr Roberts for recognizing and appreciating your talent which would one day be read globally with enthusiasm and great interest. 📮

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