The National Institute of Mental Health had an office in the shopping center just down the road from where I lived. When I was having so much difficulty with my "Thinkathon" class I called the institute to see if someone could visit my class. Dr. Shellow, who was working on a Runaway Research Project, came over and observed the class. He found the class interesting, but did not have much to offer in the way of suggestions about how I should deal with it.

After I left teaching, I made an appointment with Dr. Shellow thinking I might get some work there. I had a major in sociology and a minor in psychology and several years volunteering as a Girl Scout Professional. Dr. Shellow said, "I could use a description of a public high school from a teacher's point of view." I thought I could do that, so he arranged a contract for me, and I went to work.

I titled the material, "Youth in Captivity" and took the material I was developing in to show him from time to time. Once, when one of us called something "a chapter" to identify it we realized I was writing a book!

After finishing the project I changed the title to "The Taming: A Teacher Speaks" and adjusted the rest of the book to the title change. The original was done under government contract and could not be copyrighted as written.

The first publisher I sent it to accepted it! The editor assigned to process the book sent me a three-page single-spaced critique. She asked me to revise the first chapter according to her suggestions. I did this. She wrote back and said that I was doing fine and that I should continue to revise the rest of the book. That was all the changes they made before publishing the book!

Of course, I then decided that I could write after all. I still had, however, another lesson to learn. I took two classes in writing fiction and was embarrassed by my performance in both of them. Recently I have realized that my writing style developed during those high school years when I was editor of the newspaper. Writing fiction requires using many words to help the reader identify with the background and characters in the book. I have no patience with the need to do those things, and I am glad that my style of writing is also useful.

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