I have this old copy of The Catcher in the Rye from high school.
Sure, it may have been banned in some classrooms, but Mr. Clayton took a few of us aside our junior year and walked us through Holden's story. We graciously accepted with eager, curious hands. I'm not sure it was even so rebellious as it's reputation suggested, but that didn't matter.
It was The Catcher in the Rye for heaven's sake.
And on graduation day, after Pomp and Circumstance had echoed into the rafters, and classmates were now saying goodbye, Clayton met me in the hallway and handed me an old, beat-up copy with this inscription.
Sometimes I forget why I love to write. I honest to goodness forget that it gives me a voice when I've lost words. When I lose sight of why, what, who and the goal. He didn't give me this book because I loved it. It wasn't my most favorite book in school. It wasn't the one that changed my life. He gave it to me because he got me. He knew my journey was just beginning. That I was asking alot of questions. He read my words every day. He knew that writing was part of my journey. And that I needed this to remind me.
When I find this, I remember her. That 18-year-old, bright-eyed, naive, nothings-gonna-stop-me girl. I remember her. And in some ways, weep and mourn for her, while still celebrating where my Father has brought me today.
When I find this, I remember that I'm still silently wandering some streets. And that's ok. Give me words and I'll find my voice.
Thanks Clayton. You're still my favorite teacher.