Thursday, October 11, 2012


This post initially ran in December 2011, soon after we started Swagger. We're running it again to illustrate an 11-year-old Kathy Cannon Wiechman for the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge.

One fact writers must face is that opinions vary. What one reader/editor loves, another might find weak or offensive.

You might say I learned this lesson early.

In grade school, I used to write plays. I wrote them because I enjoyed it, and nobody ever read most of them. One evening I settled down at Dad’s Underwood manual typewriter waiting for the Muse to visit, when my little brother (Let’s call him Mikey) asked what I was doing.
“Writing a play.”
“What about?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Can you write it about me?”

And so I did. I wrote a play about my 9-year-old brother and his classmates—and his teacher. He watched me type and read over my shoulder as I tapped out each word. He laughed in all the right places.

I had an audience, a reader, someone who enjoyed my work. I admit I let him egg me on to make jokes at his teacher’s expense. Give them what they want, right?

Today, I don’t remember the jokes or the plot or anything about the play, except I know I referred to Mikey’s teacher as The Head Cheese. There may have been jokes about smell.

The next day, I left class after school to go to the Girls' Room to change for softball tryouts. The principal stopped me in the hall, my play in her hand. She was not a fan of my work.

It turned out Mikey liked my play so much, he took it to school to share with his friends. And his teacher caught them, confiscated the script in question, and asked who wrote it. The teacher took it to the principal, who told me I had to go to the teacher & apologize for being disrespectful.

Did I mention that the softball coach who was in charge of tryouts that day was none other than my brother’s teacher? I didn’t make the team.

Kathy Cannon Wiechman 


  1. Oh my! How sad and awesome at the same time. Definitely right about difference in opinions and what a good way to illustrate this. :)

  2. - What a great story! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Glad you enjoyed it, Dawn & Cassie. All those childhood memories (that seemed so traumatic at the time) give me plenty to draw on when I write for kids.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ann. Today I'm in Honesdale, remembering you & those other friends I met here.