Once upon a time in a land far, far away, (the time being around the year 1998, and the setting being Franklin Elementary School, on the east side of Toledo, Ohio,) I was given an assignment by my 4th grade teacher. It was a simple writing assignment, we had to do little more than tell a story. We were 9, it needn’t be compelling, and considering the aptitude of my peers, I’m certain it didn’t even necessarily need to be entirely comprehensible. At this time I was on a reading kick, stringing book to book, going to the Library multiple times a week, never accumulating any fines for I was always finished with the material and needed new stories in a matter of days. I was the type of boy who preferred books that hadn’t been assigned to me, and I wasn’t too picky about the selection, picking up anything from Huckleberry Finn to The Babysitter’s Club (I know, embarrassing;) as long as it the words littered those stale pages bound between two covers, it didn’t matter who spun the tales. As you’re probably wondering what all of this matters in the case of the writing assignment I started this post about, we’ll circle back to that. I never cheated, I was too smart to ever be placed in the position to need to, and besides, never gaining medals or merits for anything athletic related, schoolwork was one of the few things I was actually good at. When we were given this assignment, however, I felt unchallenged by it. I didn’t care for it, and I imagined my time would be rather spent reading than writing something dull. So for the first time in my life, I cheated. I stole a section of one of the books I was reading at the time, (I have no idea what the book was, so I couldn’t tell you,) and all I remember was that the passage I plaigerized involved a tale about a spider. The book was lesser known, and I was certain I’d get away with it, so I didn’t give it a second thought. I turned in the copied work, and went about my life. When my teacher reviewed the work, she was astonished by what I had done. She told me that she knew I was smart, but that I had captured a truly interesting story on paper in such a short time. Oh, the suspense, the glory I had personified on paper. All in a silly tale of a spider. She was certain that greatness was available to me, should I pursue such a goal, and embellished tales of my writing prowess. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t come clean, but most of all, I was upset. I was better than that, and worst of all, I felt that I was smart enough that I could bring that true reaction to someone one day. I promised myself that I would become an adept writer, and that one day I would pen a tale that would astonish those across the globe. Sometimes I fall away from that dream, but when I think back to this story, it always fuels an inspirational flame within me.
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