Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for ENGLISH TEACHERS #atozchallenge (and also Esselstrom)

The theme for the month is my first novel, six years in utero, healthy and thriving now in the cradle. It just made the second round of the ABNA competition.

At the moment, the World At Large can't read JIHADI: A LOVE STORY -- it's making a national tour of elite agency slush piles -- but when it is published, I hope it makes its way somehow to all my beloved former English teachers.

A curious thing, how many dedicated, persistent, and talented English instructors came my way, and pushed me well out of my comfort zone, in the years before I graduated high school. This was either an incredible stroke of luck, or a gift from God. We don't believe in luck in Islam, so I'm going with "gift from God."

Mr. Hess pushed me to read Where the Red Fern Grows. (That was fifth grade.)

Miss Lancelotti pushed me to read 1984.

Mr. Carson pushed me to read The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Proprietor.

Mr. Blum, also my headmaster, pushed me to read Romeo and Juliet.

Mrs. Salem pushed me to read The Catcher in the Rye, King Lear, and Lysistrata.

Miss Dawson pushed me to read Everything That Rises Must Converge, The Painted Bird. and The Glass Menagerie.

Mr. Mairs pushed me to read The Tempest.

Mr. Esselstrom  pushed me to read Don Quixote. He was also my first creative writing teacher, and gave me an A for completing a crappy play, my first real writing effort. Hi Mr. Esselstrom! Thank you!