My 2nd grade teacher let me write a short story, "The Dragon in My Garden", and sent a letter home to my parents about me being a writer. I was hooked. I'm 30 years now into diaries, journals, and blog posts.
Writing gave me a new insight to its value when I started reading my mother's daily journal entries a few years ago, (she passed away 25 years earlier) and I noticed my own writing began to change with it. So did my motivation to write.
Although I never felt stifled as a writer during high school and college, I'm not sure I was ever able to explore my writing thoroughly, and I know I wasn't able to develop myself as a writing teacher until I learned to understand my own processing at the Greater Kansas City Writing Project in 2002.
There's an article floating around on Twitter right now from the New York Times about re-connecting with teachers on Facebook. I can't visit with my 2nd grade teacher anymore, but I'm blessed with teaching during the age of Facebook and just last week a former student posted a compliment on my wall to how I inspired her writing. Fortunately, I get to say back, "it was you, and all your classmates, who continue to inspire my own writing and being a writing teacher." This constant connection and re-connection continues to pull me toward writing and its value in my life.