A little something for all those times we didn’t think our writing was good enough…
Writing is a waste of time. At least that’s what my English Professor said. Well, he didn’t say all writing. Just mine, in particular.
His specific words were, “Cassie, this is rotten. No one is ever going to read this. Throw it out.” Even as my heart melted into a puddle and my eyes watered, he stared at me as someone would stare at a bug that had been smeared across their windscreen.
To make matters worse, he was a published author. This man in front of me, with the beady little eyes and the head full of soft bouncy hair that had more lustre then mine did even after a blow dry, was telling me that I had no hope at this career and that I should just pack it all up.
So I did. I put all my careful handwritten manuscripts and material in a box and stuffed them in the back of the attic. Even though it was rubbish, I couldn’t bear to part with it.
“Dad.” Matilda stuck her head down from the attic.
“What are all these boxes up here marked ‘don’t throw out.’”
He shuffled out of the main bedroom and wrapped his dressing gown around his hunched body. “They were your Mother’s.”
She opened one box and ran her fingers over her Mother’s careful script. The bundles were tied with thin brown twine.
“She wrote these,” he said, pulling out a stack of paper, “before we had you, while she was at uni.”
She flipped though the paper and could hear her Mother’s voice in those words, written in her loopy cursive. This was a story about a Lion and a Badger.
“Children’s books? She wrote children’s books?” She breathed, not able to look up from the connection of the pages.
“Why did she stop?”
“Because a professor that took her English class told her it was drivel and that she should stop.” He sank into an old armchair. The white sheet thrown over the top, kicked up the dust in plumes.
“I remember the day she came to my dorm room. Tears in her eyes over what that man said to her. She didn’t write again.” He pulled out another stack and with gentle fingers pulled the bow free that was holding the paper in place.
“What was his name?”
Her father tapped his fingers on the pages. “M.W Holt.”
Matilda stopped and scratched her head. “Wait a sec.” She pulled out her phone and googled M.W Holt.
“I knew that name rang a bell!” She turned the phone so her dad could see a picture of him.
When he nodded at the device, she read the article.
“M. W Holt was charged with stealing other writer’s work, mostly students he taught, but his first best seller was a ripped version of something a colleague had written.”
She pulled up his collections but there were no children’s books. She dropped the phone on the table and pulled all five boxes towards her.
“I’m going to get these published. Even if I have to do them myself.”
Her dad wiped away a stray tear. “She would have loved to see that Mattie. She really would have.”
The first book was released five years to the day of Cassandra’s passing. Mattie dedicated the book to her Mother and all those who felt like giving up.