Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How mentors change lives, and some news!

I've written an essay about a very special mentor which is available to read HERE.

Yesterday, after I found out the post was up, I e-mailed Lowry to let him know. We haven't been in touch for quite a while, and realizing that made me very sad and a bit guilty. But he wrote back right away, and here's one thing he said:

You know, one of the greatest things in life is having someone give you the opportunity to do for them what you are truly capable of. You can only reach your full potential as a teacher with the right student, and when that student comes along, it's a gift. I've always felt it is an honor to be allowed to help people. I'm glad I was able to do it for you.

As I work with students myself now (thanks to Lowry), I know just what he means. There are these moments, especially when I'm meeting privately with a student, when I say something about his or her writing and find myself thinking, "Do you believe me?" "Did you really hear what I just said?" "Are you listening?" Because I know similar words helped me stay on the path. Similar words gave me something to cling to. Kept me from giving up. Made me believe I had any potential at all. I'm so grateful to Lowry for teaching me how important a teacher's words, a mentor's words, can be.

In the news category:

I am soooooo excited and truly, truly honored to be one of the author mentors at the next Whispering Pines Retreat! I've been reading Cynthia Lord's descriptions of this year's retreat and I can't wait to go! If you've been, I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips. :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

All I Really Need To Know I Learned From...

Steven Tyler?

I know I know.

But every week he seems to say some little off-handed thing that is actually, well, BRILLIANT.

Like last night, in response to a stand-out performance, he said:

"Sometimes I think it takes a little bit of being crazy to make a difference in this world."-Steven Tyler.

So true. Soooooo true.

And isn't it true about writing, too? I mean, my favorite books are the ones that, I bet at some point, either the author or the editor had that thought: Am I crazy? Can we really do this? And I'm so grateful to the people who've been brave enough to say YES.

It's how we push boundaries and raise the bar, I think. It's how we grow and discover what we're really capable of.

Letting yourself go can be so hard, it's true. But I think when we do, I mean when we REALLY do, it's the most freeing feeling in the world.

I have a rare and blissful full day of writing today and I'm officially giving myself permission to let the words go wherever they want. I am going to write like there's no one in the room, just like Steven says (OK, I edited that, but I bet he would agree).

Who's with me?