If you have read this blog before you will not be surprised when I tell you that my all-time favourite song is "Someone" by Kristyna Myles. If you know me personally you might not be surprised to learn that the book which has had the most influence on me is "Spellbinder" by Stephen Bowkett.
There are two slightly odd connections between those two items. In fact, the second one kind of pre-dates the first one - even though it was written at least 20 years after the first one.
Now I have got you scratching your head in total confusion I will attempt to explain it in a way that you might be able to understand.
How can a song which was written approximately 20 years after a book was published pre-date the book??? When the song lyrics read like your life story it does. You need to listen to the song to find out what I mean. I haven't asked her if it is about me (I don't really want to find out).
The other link between the two is the fact that both authors either are or have been teachers (as in fully qualified, stand in front of a classroom and teach, teachers). I should know about Mr Bowkett being a teacher - after all, he was my English teacher in my first year at secondary school.
Knowing there is an age difference of approximately 31 years between Mr Bowkett and Kristyna (I am approximately 11 years older than Kristyna), I have found some interesting similarities between them. They have both educated me (and continue to educate me) and they both inspire me to do my best writing.
If you think education only takes place in a classroom you couldn't be more wrong if you tried. And if you think education is about stuffing the heads of students with so much information that they are likely to explode you couldn't be more wrong.
To me - the biggest part of teaching and education in general is about inspiring your students and showing them that following their dreams will take hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, and - in some instances, only the very lucky ones will hit the big time but as long as you enjoy what you do it won't matter if you become world famous.
You could say I have had a "behind the scenes" look at both of their writing careers.
I still remember sitting in Mr Bowkett's classroom having been told to write in silence whilst hearing "bang, bang, bang, bang bang, bang, bang, bang bang bang bang, ding" on repeat as he typed what I now presume to be part of a book out on a manual typewriter.
My initiation into the world of singer/songwriters was a lot less deafening but no less educational. I have been lucky enough to be taken to gigs and see an amazing talent perform - as well as seeing some of the other work that goes on behind the scenes.
There is - however - another connection between the two teacher/author combinations. You are reading it. If there is one thing I have learned from the pair of them it is this - the bed eay to write is to write from the heart. Write about what you are passionate about. Don't try to change the world through your writing - instead try to inspire others to help you change the world by changing their own bit of it.
"Spellbinder" was published just before I started in Mr Bowkett's English class. For a bookworm who was having serious problems at school both that book and the author were literally lifesavers. That book showed me that daydreaming (when usefully harnessed and directed) could actually be an asset instead of a negative (it only took me over 30 years to get a job where I can write for a living myself - except most people would call it blogging. Me??? I call it getting paid to play with words and educate people about the challenges I face due to my sight at the same time. (I blog for a company called Simple Solutions.)
The other way "Spellbinder" influenced this blog is the way in which it is written. I have read more of Steve Bowkett's books - and they all have one thing in common. I can hear his voice as I read them. I have got one of his books on teaching English upstairs and (I did tell him this when I saw him a few days ago) I could hear him utter what I consider to be his catchphrase of "We'll write a short note about that" at the end of every chapter.
I know that both Steve and Kristyna are fans of my writing but - honestly - if my writing is even a quarter as good as either of theirs I will be a very happy writer/blogger indeed.
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