Posted in Life, Stories, Writing

Miss Stiff

I was trying to think back to when the first real spark for writing happened to me.  In my teens, I would write those, love-sick, heart-wrenching poems to that boy that would never read it.  I never wanted anyone to see what I was writing because it was my deepest, love-sick secrets.  I also dabbled at keeping a diary at different times as a child, but I never stuck with it for very long.

Then in 7th grade, Junior High, I met my English Teacher, Miss Stiff.

Miss Stiff looked Very Much as her name implied.  She was the stuffy, prim and proper school teacher.  She kept her hair up in a tight severe bun and wore dresses well below her knees.  She ruled her classes with an iron fist and took no guff from anyone.

I didn’t like school very much, especially as a teenager.  I was much more concerned with boys and partying.  But I did well in English.  I had always had a love of reading (thank you Mom) so studying English came easily for me.

I had a couple of advantages in Miss Stiff’s class.  I did well, studied, paid attention and got good grades.  Because of this, Miss Stiff looked favorably upon me.  I guess I was a bit of a Teacher’s Pet.  Most of the kids didn’t like Miss Stiff because she was so strict.  But I got along just fine with her.

Miss Stiff had a way of sparking my imagination like no one else ever had.  In addition to just teaching English, Miss Stiff would give us assignments that allowed our imaginations to run wild!  She would give us prompts for story writing and then just let us have fun with those prompts.  She would do things like write two or three unrelated words on the blackboard and have us write a story using those words.  For example:  she might write, “fish, trashcan & toothbrush”.

I may not have had the best story in class, but there was no one in class that went at it with as much enthusiasm and abandon as I did.  I LOVED it when I was given free rein to write whatever I wanted!

Looking back, I was 14 or 15 years old.  It would take me approximately another 40 years before I found that I really had a passion for writing.  I wish I would have paid more attention to that inner spark.

I have no idea what ever happened to Miss Stiff.  I wasn’t the type of kid that stayed in touch with my teachers.  I hope that Miss Stiff can look down on me and know what a wonderful, positive influence she had on my life.  Thank heavens for teachers like Miss Stiff.

© 2018 Penny Wilson 

**Day One in my Self-Imposed Challenge to do a Post A Day for 30 days.




Penny Wilson is an international writer who writes in several genres. She has written articles for WOW Women on Writing. Her poetry has been published in online journals, such as Ariel Chart, Spill Words Press and the Poppy Road Review. Penny is a member of the Austin Poetry Society. Her poetry has been featured in the publication America's Emerging Poets 2018 & 2019 by Z Publishing and Poets Quarterly and Dual Coast Magazine published by Prolific Press. Penny is an advocate for Mental Health Awareness and has the page "Mental Health Help" on her blog. She writes about the struggles of mental illnesses and Depression. She is passionate about spreading awareness for Suicide Prevention and Domestic Abuse. She expresses her passion through her writings of poetry and life experiences. You can find more of her writings on her blog at and follow her on Twitter @pennywilson123.

19 thoughts on “Miss Stiff

  1. You’d just have to be a teacher with a name like Miss Stiff! In my case, it was Miss Perkins who encouraged my love of writing. I always loved writing but she sort of showed me that writing could be real, or adult. Not just something kids did. For that I’ll always be thankful.


  2. You are certainly not alone in having a big massive gap between bouts of writing. I was the same I wrote some stuff when I was perhaps 15 and then returned to writing more than 30 years later. Took me awhile to comment on your post because the 15 year old boy still inside me could not get past the name miss stiff. Completly crash and childish and foolish I realised but hey ho we all have our flaws…


  3. She sounds like a teacher before her time with that innovative writing three words on the board and then instructing students to write whatever. My teachers mostly taught from the textbook. Memorize this, memorize that, answer these questions on a test. Kudos to Miss Stiff for encouraging your creativity.


  4. Hi Penny!
    Just wanted to tell you I really enjoyed this read! I have always had a love for reading and writing and like you, I always got along quite well with my strict English teacher whom most students feared and loathed. Your story has set my mind to spinning about my own school days. Thank you!
    It is wonderful that you have found your passion for writing and can trace it back to that spark and the person who helped it ignite.



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