Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I blame my 4th grade teacher

I blame my grade 4 teacher for turning me into a writer. His name was Mr. Fitzgerald and he came to our small town of Tompkins right out of Education. He was only there a year, but in that year he did two things that changed my life forever. The first was he read The Hobbit to us. That book blew my mind! I was amazed by the dwarves and spiders and, of course, Bilbo himself. Wow, this book didn't have the Hardy Boys in it! It had swords! I remember staring at the cover for hours.

The second thing he did was teach us how to play Dungeons and Dragons. The year would have been 1976. At that time no one had heard of the satanic, amazingly fun game. Only college geeks played it. I have no idea how he started teaching us, or why, but I do have memories of going on "adventures" during math class. I may not know my multiplication tables, but I can tell you the percentage chance of a 20 hit point strike with a +2 sword on a green dragon! The game, like The Hobbit, suddenly made my imagination explode. The game taught me that anything could be imagined. And I blame it (and my grade four teacher) for turning me into a writer.

SO thanks Mr. Fitzgerald!


Unknown said...

Regardless of your genre, a childhood of D&D has to make you a better writer. Especially if you had a group went beyond the number crunching and worked together primarily to make a great story.

Anonymous said...

Hey Art, I'm right there with you on both fronts. The Hobbit and D&D are both key factors that made me a writer (and still play a large role in my life today.) It's impressive that your teacher would teach you how to play D&D back then - he was on to something. There is a ton of math and literacy in rpgs and I've even seen teachers using them as part of their Boys Reading Clubs. Geeks FTW!


MZMollyTL said...

I really enjoyed reading this post, mostly because it reminded me of my husband (also a fan of D&D and also a writer). I'm curious - what do you think of the news about the upcoming Hobbit movie? Do you still play D&D now?

Unknown said...

I haven't played D&D for at least 20 years. A shame! I'm excited about the movie, though. I thought they did a good job of the LOTR's. I just wish kids would read the book first, of course!

Unknown said...

@Alan. Exactly. D&D really helped me figure out what the "story" was
@Liam No surprise we had some of the same influences. And yes there is math in D&D. And now I make all my major decision by rolling a 20 sided die.