Every so often, a letter or a video pops up in my feed and leaves me in tears. It isn’t because I can relate to the people in them – I can’t relate to Adele. It is because they bring back memories that lay in the attic of my mind like old books. Covered in dust and cobwebs, undisturbed for decades, and unless examined a little more carefully, not anything to cherish.
That short video today reminded me of my own English teacher in Year 8, when I was 12.
I write every day now. Typing out a blog post, writing out in my journal, a quote, or a page or two of calligraphy. I write to remain ‘sane’. To get the weight of the thoughts off my mind on to a paper where they become weightless. To create more room for other thoughts and ideas to float in, flow by. Occasionally to stay and shape me.
My English teacher in year 8 started his class with handwriting exercises. Rather than tell everyone why they needed to improve their handwriting, he simply gave everyone a few minutes at the beginning of the class to make marks on their 4-ruled copywriting notebooks with a fountain pen. He didn’t tell anyone what to do: he showed us. Writing with his beautiful hand on the whiteboard with a chalk – I realise now what an impossible task it is at that angle! – he inspired a view of the handwriting world that was possible.
I’ve written about calligraphy and pens before, of my interest in it since I was much younger. What I did not have until I was 12 was a teacher who taught through inspiration – the foundations and the possibilities.
I don’t know how many students of Year 8 at St Josephs remained inspired, but Br. Samuel lit a spark for me that continues to give a steady warmth to my life 3 decades later.
Thank you Adele for the reminder.
And more importantly, thank you Br S!