While I was writing Tree/House, my first big project, I went looking for all the ego-boosters I could among the educated people in my hometown. Going through my junk recently, I found a sheet of their comments. What they had to say is still music to my soul.
My then-boyfriend couldn't get over it when we discovered that I think in English prose, considering and crafting each thought before passing it through my lips or pen.
My high school junior year English teacher noted: "You have a natural and instinctual grace and elegance." My prose is "always well-dressed, finely bred and stately." My poetry "captures a freshness, innocence, and dreaminess." I have "a wonderful ear for conversation and dialogue" and my "characters converse as real, compelling people."
My high school senior year English teacher claimed I was far smarter than he. "I read in your style a passion that was uncommon, saw a tease that was subtle and alluring, felt a tickle that needed to be scratched." He also advised that I should take more risks (though mostly I have failed to undertand what that would mean to my writing). "If you ever let loose and showed people the passion that is within you, you might cause the wig-tappers to be called out in force to straighten all the wigs you'd flip." (Yes, I used that image in Tree/House -- how could I let that slip away unwritten?)
I could never see these wonderful things in my own writing. It feels weird to type them here. I know only that I had to write. If what they said was ever true, I hope I have only improved with time!
See Tree/House at eTLC.