When asked what I would do if I knew I could not fail, the answer is: Write. When asked how I wound up here, the answer slowly takes shape. From a very young age, I just really dug the vibe of the few writers I met. One of my favorite childhood books, contained a personalized note from the author and, though I never met her, I felt instantly plugged in on that wavelength. It felt magical to me to read books then see the picture of the solitary author and know that they created something that people everywhere would enjoy. I also loved reading!
I do not recall spending hours crafting original stories while growing up (besides the fantasies I wrote in my diary). I know I suffer from an overactive imagination. After a near-miss in an intersection, I sit and play all the “what if” outcomes in my mind in slow motion but try to stop myself so I don’t actually put those images into the universe (so they won’t really happen) all before I get to the end of that same block. I tend to look towards the horizon with a kaleidoscope rather than a telescope!
The first time I felt the depth of writing happened in a high school writing class where we practiced and analyzed various styles of writing. From there I rolled into AP English taught by one of my favorite teachers (and already my yearbook advisor) Gary Bradshaw. I dug his vibe! He was a unicycle-riding, poetry-writing surfer! I felt like he absorbed the work I turned in – and any of my classmates’ conversations – differently than anyone else. After one particular essay “The Piano” that I cashed in every opportunity to rewrite (inching towards an “A”), I exasperatedly asked how to know what an “A” paper requires? His totally zen response to me: “When your writing piece is done, you’ll just know!” From that moment on, I did not write for the grade, I wrote for what felt right or made me sit up straight and lift my hands victoriously. He developed my skill, confidence and my intuition simultaneously.
When I think of how I passed some college classes thanks only to my ability to write well about a topic, I hear his chuckle. When I re-read things I wrote, without remembering the words, I thank him for helping me tap into my subconscious flow. When I get the rare opportunity to feel “boo-ya!” about what I just wrote, that brings me back to his zen wisdom. I regret that I cannot thank him in person as he unexpectedly passed at a young age right after I graduated from college, and I hadn’t talked to him since high school.
This year, I found that one of his PHS faculty peers, Frank Barone, created a collection of Gary’s poetry, Two Hands Writing. I bought it on the spot! I shed a few tears, hearing his voice in my mind while reading the words that he so carefully laid out on paper. While I know our conversation remains one-sided, I feel like we now exist on the same wavelength. To close this full-circle moment, I found a new (to me) writing exercise online that he helped design! Maybe I’ll do that for a future #Blogtober post.
What about you?
Who do you consider to be your mentor(s)?
Did you have a chance to thank them?
What makes them stand out to you?
What was their best lesson?
Do you pay it forward?
Do you have a great writing exercise I should do?
Do you view your future through a telescope, periscope or kaleidoscope?
Are you doing #Blogtober? If so, share your posts too!
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