When I was fourteen, I wrote a story for an english assignment and, when it came back, was accused of plagiarism. My mark was withheld as I bounced around the english department and vice principal's office defending myself to a sequence of tall, elderly women that, years later, I picture in a sequence of red, brown and grey, as if colour was being slowly leeched out of each one. They told me I wasn't smart enough to have written this. They said that to have written this would mean I was capable of more. Capable, they repeated. I was not capable of more, clearly. I was a slacker in the middle classes. I could read, but it was no assurance that I did. I could write, but the only proof before this was my ugly scrawl on a test paper. Capable suggested a hidden gift, and I had not been identified as gifted, and would not be. "Look," they wanted to say after a week, "why are you wasting our time you lying fuck?"
How could I walk away after that?
* Take from Liz Williams (mevennen), who responded to Jay Lake (jaylake)