OK, it’s an open letter, not an ode. But go with it. LitHub is a reliable place to nerd out on all things reading and writing. I was delighted when I read Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s lovely open letter to the writing teachers who changed his life. Here’s a highlight:
I went to a state school I couldn’t afford, feeling poor and inadequate and dumb. You were there. You found me because I found you. I persisted, begged with my eyes for you to help me think that it was possible to be like you. You, who put magic on the shelf. I was terrified, but I found your office and I hoped. You were there, and you gifted me stories and tea and stories and stories. Suddenly I was a literary reader. I took your class, an undergraduate workshop taught by a real author. A magic maker. I wrote bad stories. You told me so, but in a way I could take. A red-drenched manuscript. I learned then that manuscripts obliterated in red ink are a kind of love language. Thank you for teaching me this early on. Thank you for seeing me at all. Thank you for pointing me, with those stories and your kindness to the mentors who’d save me next.