Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Teacher And A Mentor

Check out this blog post. My introduction is also been posted at The Dead Mule

All this is fun and exciting, but something even better happened yesterday. While I was doing research on a school, I happened upon the name of a writing teacher that I had in 1991. I couldn't imagine it was really her. 

This wasn't just any teacher. When I first heard her read from her novel Picture Makers at a writers conference in Atlanta in 1990, I felt legitimized for the first time as a writer. I then met her again when she moved to the small town I lived in. I eventually took an advanced writing class with her, where she did take an interest in my short stories. I shudder to think about those horrible stories, but she saw what my writing could be. And she infused in me, a newly divorced mother of three, a confidence in my abilities that I would not have had otherwise. 

When I realized this was the very teacher from so long ago, I wanted to contact her and say thanks. But should I do that? Would she just think I was some crazy trying to get her to promote my writing? She has gone on to start The Atlanta School For Girls and is now the president and director at Literacy Action in Atlanta. Would she remember me? Why would she? 

The idea was crazy. But I couldn't put it out of mind. So I contacted her.  Not only did she remember me, she was thrilled I got in contact with her. She wanted to know if I had any success with my writing and invited me to visit and speak at Literacy Action. My head is still spinning. 

So sixty published short stories and ten published essays later, life has come full circle. In the last year I have reconnected with both that one special teacher and my writing mentor. Both women who helped me see that every time I got knocked to my knees I had to come right back up fighting. 

Both of these women were there when I reached out both in the past and now. Emily Ellison is the teacher/author's name. Becky Wilke is my writing mentor's name. Both have gone on to make literacy their life. 

Thanks to both of you for helping me see the passion in my life. I am trying my best to pass it on. 



Dianne said...

Reading your words makes me take to my keyboard!! Someday, maybe even 16 years down the road when I'm an old, older, woman, you may read something that I wrote. I certainly hope so. You are my mentor AND my teacher, rolled into one package!!! I love you my dear friend.

VCW said...

Your words are always inspiring, and I am very happy for you with all of your exciting news. I can't wait to read more of your stories through Dead Mule. Your success helps keep me plugging away at my book. Thanks