I wrote the following passage sixteen years ago. I read it again this morning as I embark on my first writing assignment for the MFA. Somehow, remembering we all had to learn to read and write helps me step forward to cross another threshold.
"The little girl stands hesitantly at the threshold to the classroom. Peering in, she sees desks in rows. No more playing in the pretend house with the sink and stove and the plastic fruits. No more sitting in a circle on the carpet, wedged between her best friends while the teacher reads a story.
The girl knows that desks mean schoolwork, real work. Not like playing office, scribbling pages of important make-believe documents. In these desks there are real notebooks. She will have to learn to read and write real words and the pretending time is over.
But first they sculpt animals from papier-mache and print their hands in clay. When she learns to read it isn't all at once but slowly sounding words on the page, and the pretty books still have pictures. She likes using the big brown pencil, the way her fingers curl around it to form the letters in her name, to write her first short story about the bird with the broken wing that she cares for and sets free."