Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest- Dumb Blonde Writing

Growing up, I always played the ‘dumb blonde’ to perfection. What can I say? I preferred to make people laugh, saying silly things to prove I didn’t take myself too seriously or be taken too seriously by others. Like any other kid, I just wanted to be liked.

And I was. But the ending result is that no one in my entourage ever did take me very seriously. Not my teachers or my friends or my friends’ parents. I was funny in a ditzy kind of way, goofy even- but definitely not someone you would ask to help you change a tire.

But when I wrote, whether it was a creative writing piece or an essay on Aristotle’s Greek tragedy- I couldn’t hide the fact that, inside, I wasn’t really a space cadet. I loved to write.  I loved words and how you can get an idea across- prove a point, or completely change someone’s perspective with the perfect combination.  And whenever the occasion struck- I just let it rip; used vocabulary and turns of phrase I’d probably never spoken aloud. 

There were two occasions where I realized my writing let people glimpse a different side of me and, in some cases, alter the way they saw me altogether.

One was my senior year of high school.  Our English professor, Dr. Taylor, pulled me aside a few days before graduation.  I don’t think she had addressed more than a few words to me throughout the year.  She asked about my plans for college. Asked about the long-term boyfriend I was with at the time. And then she turned to me and said ‘I just wanted to tell you not to settle.  I’ve read your work. I know what you’re capable of and I think you could go very, very far.’

No other teacher had ever said that to me before.

The same thing happened in college, with the professor who accompanied my study abroad group to France. We’d become a big family, and I was often the class clown.  Which is why he was so surprised after reading a paper I did comparing the women’s movement in France and the United States that made him realize there ‘was more to me than meets the eye’.

Today, of course, I’ve mostly grown out of playing the dumb blonde.  It helps that French people don’t understand that kind of humor and might think I’m a little retarded if I’m not careful. But writing still taps into a part of who I am- one that doesn’t get to see the light of day as much as she should.  It lets me be my whole self, and I couldn’t imagine a life without it.

Thanks for reading my ‘origins’ story.  I look forward to reading yours! Be sure to check out more origins entries here:

106 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

Great story. Very often there is more than meets the eye to most people. That's why writing is such a wonderful thing.

Hope Roberson said...

Ah, for the love of being a blond! I remember my senior year when I needed my DECA teacher's signature on a scholarship application and his jaw dropped when he read my GPA. Thanks hair color :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing. Awesome that your teacher encouraged you.

Sarah said...

Teachers have such tough jobs--I love to read stories of appreciation about how instrumental they can be in pushing a young person to reach her potential, or in letting her know it's there in the first place. Thanks for hosting this blogfest, Katie!

Miranda Hardy said...

Those teachers/professors knew what they were talking about. Glad you had them in your life.

Matthew MacNish said...

Love your story, Katie! I'm similar in that I've always expressed myself more eloquently through writing than talking.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm glad you had a couple teachers who encouraged the deeper part of yourself. As a teacher, it's hard to know what words are going to make a difference in a kid's life.

Did you tap into that "dumb blonde" a little while writing Sadie?

SA Larsenッ said...

I really heart your story. It's funny how people can sometimes concentrate on one characteristic of a person and miss all the others. You are fabulous and intelligent, as well as funny. I'll always take you seriously.

Old Kitty said...

Yay for your wonderful and most amazing teachers who saw the true you - an amazing, talented, creative, and most beautiful woman!!

Take care
x

Melissa Bradley said...

I love teachers! They are the greatest people. Thanks for putting together this awesome feat. It's so inspiring reading everyone's tales of how they got their start.

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Katie,

I'm doing Origins, too, and loved your post - and your blog name (I've seen you around, but was too scared to follow :) But now I am, so there!

Juliana said...

Nice of those teachers to encourage you! I'm sure they were right!

C0 said...

...And you had put my incoming post to shame.

Last minute revisions! :D

Meika said...

Teachers are such a big part of our lives. If it weren't for some of my teachers, I never would have taken writing seriously. They really do change our lives. Thanks for sharing your story!

DL Hammons said...

It's amazing how much potential is left undeveloped because of the desire to be liked? I've never known the "dumb-blonde" side of you and frankly, can't imagine it on you. Great story! Thank you for helping out with this blogfest. It turned out so much bigger than I hoped! :)

Gina said...

You may be blonde, but you're not dumb. And I totally would've written stories and exchanged notebooks with you back in the day!

Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

One of my undergrad professors wrote on a paper that I had a "fluid and pleasing writing style." That stuck in my head long after his other comments were forgotten. I can't even remember what professor or what class it was!

Annalisa Crawford said...

There's a difference between the real me and the writer me. Sometimes, I read things I've written and I don't recognise them as something I've done.

It must be quite nice to have that element of surprise about you!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Hey, I have a lot of respect for blondes! Most of my closest friends are blonde. I had that "space cadet" syndrome, too...that clever mask to hide those deeper thoughts. Glad we're both throwing shallowness to the wind and writing our hearts out! Fun blogfest!

LynnRush said...

Wow. That's an amazing story. Love that! :)

Tonja said...

Great story. I'm glad you had those two people whose encouragement made a difference. Thanks for hosting.

mshatch said...

I had a couple of teachers who encouraged me also and I'm not sure I'd still be writing if not for their encouragement.

Grumpy Bulldog, Media Mogul said...

So French people don't understand dumb blonde jokes buy they like Jerry Lewis? Just another reason not to like them.

Jennee said...

Great story. I often played the role of ditzy brunette and just the other day someone read something that I jotted down and they were surprised that I could "think" like that. Being so mysterious can be so fun!

Nicki Elson said...

Being the always entertaining girl is a special talent too, and it's really cool both sides of you are appreciated (even if the French are missing out on a lotta fun. ;)). It's so wonderful those teachers took the time to pull you aside to reinforce your belief in yourself.

Talli Roland said...

That's a wonderful story! I love how writing brought out another side of you, and that people encouraged you!

Stuart Nager said...

Even though I was never blond, and never part of the "in group", I had a similar experience in my writing. I had a few teachers whose comments of expectations touched me as well...but also terrified me at the time. You never want to let those people down.

Thanks for sharing.

Connie Keller said...

Love your origins story.

Mina Burrows said...

Excellent origin post. Isn't it cool when others "get" the other side of you? Thx for sharing.

Scarlett said...

So cool, Katie! Books *are* often judged by their cover, aren't they! It is so refreshing, though, when we see beyond the the protective shell and begin to turn the pages.

I LOVE your pages!
Thank you so much, for co-hosting this Fest! Wonderful!

Isis Rushdan said...

It's amazing how much influence a teacher can have. What a great story! Thanks for the fest.

Sarah Ahiers said...

i think we all have those moments of playing it a little ditzier than we really are.
But i definitely had a friend like you, who played it all the time, and only those really close to her knew how frickin smart she really was

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wow! This is beautiful. I think it's always important to know that there is more to each of us than others can see on the outside.

farawayeyes said...

Interesting story- Oh,to be liked!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

All it takes is encouragement from the right people to motivate us!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Isn't it funny how words that come out of our fingers are somehow better than those that escape our mouths? Great story - thanks for sharing and hosting!

Marta Szemik said...

You must be grateful to have had encouraging teachers. Great story!

Julie said...

Fantastic story. This is one of the things I love about writing, it lets me show a side of myself that is much more confident and comfortable than the one I usually show the rest of the world. Thanks for co-hosting this fest!

Jay Noel said...

When I was a high school English teacher, there were lots of students I had just like you. I tried to encourage them.

I think it's HUGE just getting any kind of acknowledgement about what you have inside.

M.J. Fifield said...

I loved your story. I loved that you had some great supportive teachers.

Thanks for co-hosting this blogfest...

Adrienne said...

I don't know if teachers realize how deep an impression they make when they encourage a kid one-on-one, but I have similar experiences, and they've always stuck with me. Thanks for hosting this blogfest! It's been a lot of fun!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks for sharing your story.

I think we often feel safer expressing our true selves in the written word.

Sounds like you had some super teachers. :)

Ashley Nixon said...

Wonderful story! I'm so glad your teachers realized your potential. My Freshman/Senior English teacher took my book to my Junior English teacher. She didn't think I'd be good, but she was so pleased, she continued to read my story. I was so shocked! Teachers really influence a lot.

Laura Marcella said...

Wonderful origins story, Katie! I'm happy to hear you had some good teachers to encourage your talent. :)

Patti said...

Thank goodness for wonderful teachers. I think that's why I like writing too. It lets me reveal a little more of myself.

Siv Maria said...

Jokes really do not translate well do they? Thanks for sharing a great story about your discovery into the world of being taken seriously.

D.G. Hudson said...

It's funny when we look back and see where that spark started. I was a bit like that, the smart one who pretended not to be.

I'm glad some of your teachers were astute enough to let you know that you had promise!

Glad to be following your blog now.

Jen Chandler said...

Fun story!

I think all writers hide their "writerly intelligence" from their everyday life. It can be misunderstood, not understood, or seen as weird by non-writers. It's a wonderful moment when a teacher or mentor recognizes the gift and encourages us to pursue it. I'm glad you found yours in high school and college.

Thanks for co-hosting a great blogfest!

Jen

Caitlin said...

Sounds like you had a couple of amazing teachers in your life. Really loved reading your story!

Jessica Bell said...

LOL. You should come to Greece. The women here will understand you fine ... in fact, they'll probably think you're a smart blonde. WHOAH. Okay, just for the record ... I'm JOKING, folks! ;o)

Julie Dao said...

What a wonderful teacher you had! I remember mentors like that. Sometimes they can see our potential more clearly than we or any of our closer friends/family can, and it's so rewarding to hear it from them. Great story!

Steven said...

Way to realize that you don't have to play the dumb blonde to be liked or accepted! And I totally get the living-in-another-country-where-American-humor-isn't-appreciated thing.

Pearson Report said...

You gotta love teachers that go the extra mile to shed some light on our potential.

Great post - thanks for sharing! And...thanks for hosting this Blogfest.

Jenny @ Pearson Report
Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Jennifer Hillier said...

Loved this origins story! Bubbly on the outside, all deep and layered on the inside. :) Perfect combination, if you ask me.

Tracy Jo said...

Katie, this totally hit home with me. Loved it! I started my blog last April and I have had a lot of people say the same thing to me...they had no idea I had it in me or took me seriously. Writing has been such a wonderful outlet for my other voice. Lol! :-)

LTM said...

ahh... *psst... come close* I did that, too. :p But more so in college. In the primary years, I was just very quiet. Isn't it wonderful to have teachers who'll look past that and see what's hiding behind the front? I think it's amazing that you're able to be yourself in writing. That's the best way I've heard it explained yet! :o) <3

nutschell said...

Hi Katie!
I'm dropping by from the Origins blogfest. Thanks for hosting it!
I loved reading about your writing origins. I can't wait until you find that agent and get published.

Your newest follower,
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Jasmine Walt said...

Great story. There is always more to someone than we can ever see on the surface. It's just unusual for someone to balance the act of being an intellectual writer and a ditzy blonde at the same time! Nothing wrong with either. :D

Bish Denham said...

There's nothing like an encouraging adult to help a kid realize who he/she is. Hopefully each of us will be able to pass it on.

Bob (Beauty in Ruins) said...

I had a similar origin, with an English teacher who rescued me from life in a lab and set me on the path to writing.

The Golden Eagle said...

I love that aspect of writing--it brings out something in people that is usually hidden away.

Thanks for hosting!

Helena said...

How important teachers can be in our lives, especially when one or two words of encouragement can mean so much to us. And my impression is (though you'd know this far more than I) that the French have no trouble see good-looking blondes as intelligent. Are Americans that different?

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

A very well-told story. I'm touched by the specific moments in which professors told you what they saw in you - so honest and gracious of them.

Thank you for co-hosting this blogfest. I can't stop reading entries.

xoRobyn

Empty Nest Insider said...

How fortunate to have had such a wonderful teacher in high school! Your college experience sounds amazing too! I really enjoyed your story and thanks for co-hosting this fabulous blogfest! Julie

Karen Peterson said...

It's amazing what a difference a teacher can make.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love the way you shared this, Katie. It's a story all by itself! :-)

RachelMaryBean said...

This is a great story. Thanks for sharing.
ps. Your French comment at the end made me laugh. :)

Claire Hennessy said...

Isn't it incredible how one kind comment from someone can inspire and encourage us so much. I've always played the fool too and had to come half way across the world to get taken more seriously ... although, thinking about it, not sure I am actually!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Katie,I've been on the other side of the equation as a teacher and have had my eyebrows try to crawl off the top of my forehead when I've read some papers. Writing does give a glimpse to who we are.

I'm glad you've moved pass the ditzy blonde stage, altho that's a creative endeavor in itself. :-)

Enjoyed your story.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

JeffO said...

Thanks for sharing, and for co-hosting!

Marsha Sigman said...

I've always been a blonde with a brunette attitude.

Great story and I hope none of us decide to settle!!!

Melissa Sugar said...

Great story. We often underestimate the influence a great teacher can have on us. I grew up with the same "dumb blonde" issues. I discovered as an adult that I can use it to my advantage. The opponent (in my case opposing counsel) always underestimates the goofy, quirky blonde. Their mistake. Thanks for sharing & for hosting this blogfest.

Nancy Thompson said...

Wow, how awesome to have someone who believes in you like that!

Lynda R Young said...

You were lucky to have that English professor. Its amazing how such a few brief words can impact a person's life.

Mama J said...

Teachers are so important, especially when you're lucky enough to have a fantastic one who encourages you or one who inspires you.

Colene Murphy said...

Very cool origins story. Glad you had someone to say that to you!

Liza said...

It's amazing teachers like yours that help us know ourselves. I remember a poetry teacher putting a poem I'd written in a class assigned journal into the Fine Arts Magazine without telling me. I was shocked that she thought it good enough...it was the first clue that I just might be. Let that writer out all the time girl!

Monti said...

Thanks for sharing your story and for co-hosting the Origins Blogfest. Good luck with your writing career!

Monti
Mary Montague Sikes

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Loved your story, but I'm so glad you outgrew the need to play the dumb blonde. (Musta drove your parents nuts!)

Rick Daley said...

That's a great story! The act you put on when you were younger was just an extension of the creative muse...

Angela M. said...

And isn't it therapeutic to let yourself be who you are without having to conform to someone else's expectations? I love that the writing has done that for you! When I read my writing, I often feel like someone else wrote it. Not sure what that says about me. Maybe I don't know the inner me as well as I should.

Caledonia Lass said...

Thanks for co-hosting such an awesome blogfest! I joined at the absolute last minute and am loving reading about everyone's origins. We all knew there was more to you than meets the eye. ;) <3

Allison said...

It is wonderful to have someone tell you that you have talent! Encouraging story.

Allison (Geek Banter)

Trisha said...

Nice story, Katie! I'm glad that you got those encouraging words from teachers/professors.

Alleged Author said...

I love your story. Keep going, girlie (and we all think you are capable of greatness)!

Botanist said...

Glad you found the encouragement you needed at the right time. And thanks for co-hosting this blogfest!

Christine Rains said...

What a wonderful origins story. So happy that there were people who saw the real you and encouraged you. Let your true self shine. :)

Kristin Rae said...

Blondes unite!! I love this story, and aren't encouraging teachers lifesavers?

When you said that your writing showed people a side to you that they didn't know about before, that sort of happened to me too. When I let one of my best friends read a couple chapters of one of my stories, she told me she was shocked and continued giving me high praise. I almost got offended LOL.

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks for sharing your story and hosting this blogfest. Your story shows that you truly don't know what's really inside of people, unless you really look. All too often people just take things at face value. Glad to see there were people in your life who could look a little deeper.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Never to settle. What great encouragement and advise. She saw something special in you -- too special not to guide you. Great origin story. Roland

Sophia Chang said...

Totally relate - mine was the Asian thing and being unpopular. I relied on humor and being "the funny one" since I couldn't be the sexy/hot/pretty one.

Thanks for co-hosting this fest, I really loved participating in it!

Angela Brown said...

What your teacher said is phenomenal. I'm just glad that the rest of us - who make no assumptions regarding the blondeness - get to enjoy your writerly savvy as you put it on display...along with your quirky funness as well. I'm just making all kinds of words up here lol!!

Laura said...

I love it that the 'you' that writes is the least fictional part of you. Great post, and great to learn a bit more about you.
Lx

Accidentalwriter said...

Writing can be the great 'revealer' of the inner-self. It's interesting how others can see attributes and capabilities in us - even when self-disclosure was not an intention. May the part of who you are, that doesn't get to see the light of day as much as she should - really break out so that we all can be blessed with the wonders she has to offer.

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, you've had some wonderful teachers! I know I play the clown around my family as well probably because I come from a long line of clowns but, like you, when I write, I'm serious.

Nicole Zoltack said...

What a great Origins story!

Nicole L Rivera said...

What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing Katie :)

Cherie Reich said...

Aww! That's an amazing story, and I'm glad you found a way to be yourself through writing.

Brinda said...

I believe that it takes only a word from a teacher to make a difference in a life. Great story.

Treelight said...

I like that dual personality-story :) I guess the people who were able to see through you, were really smart in the right areas.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great story! It's always interesting to watch people's reactions when the meet the 'real' person who often hides behind the facade!

Ella said...

Wonderful, so glad you shared~ Nice to show the many sides of you! I am so glad you found your way with words ;D

Donna Hole said...

Glad you found yourself in your writing Katie. Its been a pleasure getting to know you.

......dhole

Jackie Jordan said...

I loved your story. It doesn't take much encouragement for some folks to strive for activities that they already love. You teacher recognized your talents and simply made you aware of your gift. That;s the beauty of life ...

Deniz Bevan said...

That's a great story! How wonderful that there were teachers who saw the inner you.

Michael G-G said...

Here's to you for helping put on this blogfest, for your obvious talent, and for working so hard on your writing and persevering.

And here's to your teachers, and any others, you have affirmed you.

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