It’s the Tuesday Tell-All over at the CWILL BC blog, and this week’s question is:
As a student or in the early stages of your career, did you have a mentor who encouraged you?
My first mentor was Elizabeth Hutton, our high school librarian. She arrived somewhere around my grade 10 year, in a whoosh of full skirts and a clinking of African jewelry. She had lived in Africa. Africa! To those of us who only left the valley once a year or so, she may as well have lived on the moon.
There must have been librarians before Ms. Hutton, but I don’t remember them. (Except for that short, bald guy in elementary school who yelled at me for spelling Dorthy wrong while completing those horrible decimal system worksheets. Let’s not count him as a librarian.)
One of the first thing Ms. Hutton did was launch two creative writing classes. Each class voted on whether to produce newspaper issues or chapbooks. My class — two socialites, two D&D players, and me, the socialite who secretly wished she could be a D&D player without committing social suicide — were very proud of our chapbooks.
I still have every issue of Prince Charlie’s Press in a box in the basement. The writing is atrocious, alternating between rain-soaked breakup poems and rat-infected sci fi. But Ms. Hutton never said it was anything but wonderful.