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Dear Mrs. Douglas

Dear Mrs. Douglas,

You may not remember me. I was in your 7th grade English class, many years ago. I was an unremarkable student. My writing was poor, I rarely turned in an assignment, I read none of the assigned literature, and my participation in class was limited to scribbling algorithms in my notebook and daydreaming about motocross or snowboarding. I hid in the front of the classroom, because if you recall, your desk was located in the rear. The front felt an easier place to hide.

Despite my complete disinterest in 7th grade English, I have managed to accomplish a thing or two. I have become a “thought leader” in my industry. In fact, I now dedicate a significant portion of my time to writing.

Damn. I should have paid more attention.

As writing became more important to what I do, I became enamored with the power of the written word. The response to my writing was both empowering and humbling. My ideas were helping others, and people were appreciative of my perspective. Even more humbling was the realization that my writing was garbage. Apparently people struggle to take you seriously when your thoughts do not flow, your sentence structure is confusing, and your grammar be bad.

After a series of writing coaches and proofreaders, I am grateful that my writing has improved. In fact, I have become a bit of a writing snob. I judge heavily based on the misuse of there, they’re, and their; a run-on sentence is cause for me to abandon an article, and I view the ellipsis as the literary equivalent of a hacksaw.

Looking back, I may have been a decent writer in 7th grade had I listened to anything you said.

Do you remember the battle of “whether?” I do.

In fact, in hindsight, writing may have been a constructive outlet for all that I was thinking at the time. I think we can both agree that I was not lacking opinions.

To bring this rambling to close, I wanted to say thank you for trying. Thank you for caring.

I apologize for not listening. 7th grade English matters.

Sincerely, The wayward 7th grader who found his way.

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