When I was in third grade, we were to learn how to write using cursive handwriting.  At the beginning of the year, my teacher, Mrs. Mills, put up a board with many ink pens on it in all different colors.  When our cursive handwriting was deemed “good enough”, we earned the pen of our choice.  So, the faster you were “good enough”, the more likely you were to get your choice of pens. And, you could graduate from writing with a pencil to an ink pen. This was a big deal.

Purple PenFrom the start, all I wanted was the one that was lavender colored. Everyday I looked up at that board and coveted that pen. I fretted over whether someone else would love that lavender pen as much as I did and claim my prize.

I dutifully did all the handwriting exercises and practiced. Pen after pen was awarded…but not to me.

The year went along. Still no pen.

Chubby girlI think this was also the year that I went from slim to “plump” to make things even worse. To give me something to do, I was enrolled in ice skating lessons — another dreadful childhood memory! So, there I was becoming chubby, unable to skate one more than one foot, and still writing with a pencil. At least I had Mrs. Paul’s frozen clam sticks and Campbell’s canned tomato soup to look forward to on Saturdays after the horrid ice skating lessons concluded.

Report CardWe received report cards from school numerous times throughout the year. This was back “in the day” when everything was written out by hand by the teachers. And, so, still penless, I received my spring report card from dear Mrs. Mills. She took the time to write, “Arlene will never possess nice handwriting.”

BONG!!!!!! Fate sealed!!!! I will be She of Lousy Handwriting for the rest of my life.

photo (8)And, in case you wondered what all this has to do with Fibery Goodness, you see the problematic handwriting situation migrated over to art class. So, I became She of Lousy Handwriting and No Drawing Talent.

{Insert Wavy Lines here as time moves forward}

I accepted my fate and moved on. In fact, I found my ways of “making it right”. First I used Mrs. Mills handwriting practice workbook to teach my handicapped cousin how to write using his mouth. DonActually, that brilliant little boy taught himself as I sat there with him Saturday after Saturday and we shared good laughs over stupid kid stuff.





typewriterThen, when I was 13, I asked for a typewriter, dug a “Learn to Type” book out of an old pile of books at home and taught myself how to use a keyboard. Ha, ha, Mrs. Mills!

And, now, cursive handwriting is becoming a thing of the past. If Mrs. Mills were alive today, I would trounce her with my typing and online skills!

But, still there is the drawing thing. It’s frustrating not to be able to translate what I see in my head onto paper. I come up with ideas for fibery projects all the time, but alas, they live in my mind and sometimes are forgotten. And, I know everyone reading this can sympathize because we all have something we think we can’t do. Maybe we haven’t tried. Maybe we tried and it didn’t go well. Maybe we quit too soon. Maybe I wasn’t the only one that Mrs. Mills sentenced to a lifetime of lousy handwriting…

YOD book2014 is just about here. I’ve decided this is going to be the year when I break through my drawing block. Suzy gifted me a book called “The Yoga of Drawing” — it was her mother’s, then hers, now mine. I’m going to work through it…you know why? Because Suzy believes I can do it and that is so powerful when someone else believes in you before you do.

What about you? Is there anything you’d be willing to try creatively (again)? I tell you what, I already believe in you. If you want to drop me an email letting me know what you are going to break through with next year, I promise to cheer you on!

11 thoughts on “Mrs. Mills Be Gone!

  • December 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    This year, 2014, I plan to master the art of spinning on a spinning wheel. I’ve taken three classes, but to no avail. I’m determined to be able to coordinate my “draw” of fleece with the tredle(s).

  • December 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Teachers can be the most enabling, encouraging adults in the Universe… or the most discouraging and dream-crushing. I think 3rd Grade teachers are the best/worst for that… maybe it’s just my own 3rd Grade experience talking there. 😉
    It’s funny, because I think of you as one of the MOST creative people that I know. So there, Mrs. Mills.
    I think I’d like to try painting again. I am okay with watercolors, but pretty poor with paints that require texture and patience to really be extraordinary. Let’s see how far I get with that! 😀

  • December 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I want to be able to spin gorgeous art yarn of all types on my wheel and my spindles. I want it to be very colorful and shiny (with gold and silver). I want it to be easy and fun. I am determined.

  • December 27, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    My first grade teacher proclaimed to my mother that I could ‘do anything she wants… if she only had self-discipline’, and I’ve lived under the ‘no self discipline’ cloud ever since! Perhaps this year I should tackle my fear of warping and brush the dust off my rigid heddle loom… or try the potters wheel again (my skinny fingers always poked holes through my pots).

  • December 28, 2013 at 7:22 am

    I believe in you, too. Teachers….art teachers told me I couldn’t draw. Somehow, I ignored them. I’m no Picasso but I get by. Now music….that’s another story. I suck at music. The Dulcimer beat me….I may give it another go in 2014 though.


    (There are also Form Drawing exercises that are great for relaxing the hand and releasing the energy of gesture…..usually available at Waldorf Schools)

  • December 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Handwriting and drawing ability are open to interpretation. Unfortunately, talent or lack thereof are frequently judged by those who should not be passing judgement. We adopt labels that we would be best served by ignoring.

    You will love that book, I guarantee it! You are indeed creative and I can’t wait to see what masterpieces you produce.

    For myself, I think I’m going to make time to draw again during the upcoming year. I haven’t been producing visual art for quite a while and my soul needs this outlet. Perhaps I should dust off the guitar as well.

  • December 29, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I was the same Arlene,but it was finding out that it wasn’t cas I couldn’t, it was cas I was different..left handed and I wanted to write from left to right in mirror image,so yerh starting school was being told that I got it wrong and couldn’t do it :/

  • December 29, 2013 at 6:21 am

    When I was teaching, we were told to have the kids draw a small picture to help them remember vocabulary words. of course I had to demonstrate, and i have trouble drawing stick figures! needless to say, it was the source of much amusement with my middle school students.

  • January 6, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Thank you for that post Arlene. I can relate to that story in some parts of my fiber arts life. But knowing you and your accomplishments makes me look at certain parts of my journey and know that if “that doesn’t happern exactly like I though it would. Well then, this will happen and be just as good Maybe just a different road traveled to be accomplished”… My take on your story. (:

  • January 12, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    In 5th grade the teacher gave me a B— (whatever that means!) in handwriting, because she didn’t want to give me my first C! I still can’t write, but that’s fine with me. I can spin! We each have our own things we’re good at, and things we’re not. I just hope I can be the kind of person that encourages people in what they are good at.


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