It all started with poetry …
Many people dream of becoming a writer, but I idealized poets. My journey started out simply enough. My English teacher at Hoover Middle School, Mrs. Ash, encouraged me to write a poem that was later printed in a school anthology. I remember nervously giving a knee-knocking reading during a school assembly.
I was a shy and skinny little girl at 12 who sought solace by becoming an obsessive reader. I’d stay up all night devouring books and still go to school the next day. I loved all my literary adventures, but I had another important reason to learn. I was determined to be more independent and resilient.
It was because I was emotionally separating from my identical twin sister, Heather. I didn’t want to, but because she was maturing faster than me physically, she wanted her own space, her own friends and activities. All I wanted was Heather. We’d always been so close and comforted each other throughout our childhood, so this split hurt like hell. I felt incredibly alone.
I read everything I could on Native American tribes, all the Tarzan books and survival stories. I even bought “weight-on pills” with my allowance, but to no avail. Eventually, my work paid off. Sadly, twins do sometimes fight physically. Heather was bigger and stronger and I usually got the worst of it, but I finally learned to hit her harder and end the tussle sooner.
Before high school started, I’d gained more confidence and started (Thank God!) to bloom. Another special English teacher that I adored, Kathy Osbourn, encouraged me to write poetry. She kept pushing me to write a total of seven poems.
She also kept copies of them. Unbeknownst to me, she paid my entry fee and submitted my work to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, where I was one of 15 young aspiring poets accepted into the program. I was also accepted the next year and studied under some very accomplished poets.
Poetry changed the course of my life and has enriched it beyond my wildest dreams. At 15, I was idealistic enough to think I could major in Professional Writing in Journalism at O.U. Better yet, Heather and I became best friends again just prior to our 18th birthday.
What I value most there is what my mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Yamashita taught me. I wasn’t trying awfully hard when writing a media release in her public relations class. I wanted to be a poet and write fine literature. She took me aside and said, “Kevan, a good writer can write anything!”
Challenged, I decided she was right. On my next assignment, I covered an event at O.U. in a creative way and she loved it. She even read it to the class. That led to my working at The OU Daily newspaper and my lifelong love of exploration and telling people’s stories.
Just prior to earning my degree, I was hired by The Oklahoman as a staff writer (they even let me finish my classes, too).
Today, I’ve helped several Fortune 100 companies and others to improve their internal and external communications and marketing. I’d love to do it for you. Just give me a call at 405-514-3972.
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