Sierra's New Book and How Negativity from Parents & Educators Affects Creativity


The following is a response to a post by Sierra Brave.

You can help Sierra choose the title for her forthcoming book. My choices are "Taming Goldie" or "Locking Down Goldie."

Educators and parents can have a tremendous effect on a person's confidence in their creative abilities. My mother always belittled my artistic talents and, consequently, I have no confidence in my ability to create art.

My sixth-grade teacher was a nasty man who should have been nowhere near kids or adults. His attitudes probably would have reduced a pack of wild dogs to quivering jelly. He insisted that we create outlines for our stories and follow them--but if we followed them too closely, he'd know we wrote the story first and fail us. To this day, I absolutely cannot work from an outline for creative projects. I actually start shaking and feeling sick.

I was normally a quiet, well-behaved kid, but I despised my sixth-grade teacher with a fiery passion. One day when no-one was looking, I locked his file cabinet and tossed the keys behind his desk. When he tried to get into the cabinet, he was furious. He demanded to know who locked the cabinet. Nobody said anything, and no-one would have suspected me. 

I suppose in the long run it's a good thing he found the keys because things could have gone worse. There were times when he was physically abusive with some of the boys. 

There was one time that I was very sick with strep throat and was out of school for three weeks. When I returned he berated me in front of the class, shouting "Just what are you trying to pull?" I almost gave up on writing for good because of this asshole. However, despite my depressive tendencies and low self-esteem, I've always had a powerful survival instinct and maybe just plain orneriness. I decided that I wasn't going to let him get the better of me. I kept writing.

Still, it's forty-four years since I was in the sixth grade, and to this day I still get physically sick at the idea of using an outline when writing stories.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay


  1. The old phrase 'sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me' is unmitigated crap. I know many people (me included) who bear lifelong scars from words. And those wounds still suppurate and open at intervals.

    1. Same here. Last year around my birthday I picked the scab off a particularly bad one. In the long run, I suppose it helped me. Still, I'd rather not have all these stupid wounds just waiting to be opened at an inopportune moment.

  2. I feel bad for that teacher's family. If he had a wife and kids, surely they suffered greatly!!!

    I'm so sorry you endured such trauma! It's so sad how he killed that part of you--I've no doubt that he did as well the many other students!

    I laughed when you did what you did with his filing cabinet and keys. xD

    Thank you for visiting my blog and for the lovely comment. Your honesty is refreshing. <3

    1. In fairness (I guess) all he killed was my ability to write fiction using an outline. I don't consider it a great loss, since I'm still spreading my writing all over the place like a plague. I would rather like to not feel sick to my stomach when I think of writing an outline for a story, but it is what it is.


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