Twenty-one years ago, I remember standing in the Writing Works of Prospect High School on the final day of classes. I had stayed four hours late to finish an Apple Pascal program to write a new check-in/out program for them. I had just finished showing off the program and I realized that most writers never acknowledge the teachers who started them down the path.
"I'm going to dedicate my first published book to this."
It was a promise that I never told anyone, but one that had been in the back of my head since I graduated. If you see the source control of the last four novels, it's been there because since they were never published, I kept moving the dedication from book to book.
With Sand and Blood, I finally got that dedication into a printed book. It is a small gesture, but I honestly have to say that I've been thinking about it over twenty years.
Today, I started to find the teachers I made that silent promise too. It's not easy, a lot has happened to everyone in two decades, but it is the last bit to fulfill my promise.
My high school English teachers are the reason I'm writing. They suffers through my proto-emo poetry, dark writing, and the general strangeness of a boy who was rather… divorced from the rest of the school population. While I've forgotten their names unless I looked at my yearbook, I haven't forgotten sitting at the tables in Writing Works as they dredges through the piles of steaming crap. And yeah, I've looked at what I've written. It wasn't pretty, but I also see where my voice got started and the beginning of what ended up being Sand and Blood, its sequels, and even the other novels.
I haven't found all of my teachers. I've managed to track down two of the five, but three remain as just names on my list.
- Judee Ross
- Lori Thompson
- Barbara Schuman
I'm posting these names here because Google may eventually help me track them down. All of them were staff at Prospect High School during my years haunting Writing Works (1989-1993). Yeah, I could use Classmates.com, but frankly I've never had a lot of luck with that with prior attempts.