ÔĽŅReaching out…

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Last week I received a Facebook message from a woman who asked if I’d taught at a particular school close to 30 years ago.  I had. She said she’d been a student in my class when she was in Grade 3. She’d recently read a post on Social Media about favourite teachers and it made her think of me.

This woman, who is now 41, went on to tell me that she remembers that I was always ‘happy and fun’. She shared a few of the funny things she recalls from my class (like how to use the tune from the Mickey Mouse song to spell my name) (I still use that song to teach people how to spell it) and how she began to come out of her shell that year. She finished by thanking me for being an ‘amazing teacher.’

I was so grateful to hear from this woman. I would have been in my early 20’s then and was definitely wet behind the ears when it came to teaching. I felt like an imposter, not a ‘real’ teacher. Apparently I did okay.  ūüôā Hearing from her has reminded me of how important it is to reach out to those who have made a difference in our lives and to thank  them. Let’s do it before it’s too late.

Be an encourager. Scatter sunshine. Who knows whose life you might touch with something as simple as a kind word. Debbie Macomber

 

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A Writerly Crisis of Faith

Apathy_Bear_by_MrsGeeI’m writing a new novel. This one is for an adult audience, not my usual genre which is young adult. This is new territory for me. I spent months doing the research, and now I’m well into the story.¬† I’ll probably spend another year completing it before I’ll shop it around to publishers.¬†If it’s any good and with¬†a little¬†luck it will get published¬†and then¬†I’ll start another one. Such is the life of a novelist.

But there’s always that chance that I won’t find a publisher for this one.¬†It’s an extremely¬†competitive field. I might have missed the boat with the topic which¬†may¬†be pass√© by the time the story is complete. Am I wasting a couple years of my life working on something that will simply grow mouldy in a file cabinet drawer in my basement? Every day I wonder if my time would be better spent working in a soup kitchen, bringing meals to the elderly, volunteering in a hospital – all things that would help make my community a better place.

This is the dilemma faced by most writers. Hugely successful¬†ones sign contracts before a project is written, but for most of us, writing is an act of faith. We enjoy the process, but we also hope that¬†our words¬†¬†will¬† find an audience to entertain, inform, or simply be thought-provoking. But there are days, like this one, when the words aren’t flowing and the passage of time¬†stares me in the face¬†and I wonder … is this the best use of the time?

To Sir, with love

He’s deaf, mostly blind and,¬†(I hate to say it) he smells bad. Goopy-eyed and senile, he often barks incessantly for no apparent reason. He’s developed¬†disgusting habits, like sniffing out cat poop for consumption, and he’s prone to accidents in the house. Tangle-ups with his retractable leash have caused three broken bones (mine, not his.) He’s the kind of aging dog that only those of us who have lived with him for sixteen years could love, but love him we do. This is our treasured Sir Winston.

winnie07

Sir Winston

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Thank you, Mom

Library

This week I spent a morning sitting in a comfy lounge chair at my local library. Occasionally I would look up from the book I was reading and watch the steady stream of people going in and out through the front doors. It was a weekday morning, so it was mostly seniors and toddlers with their caregivers. Librarians were helping patrons, and there was a quiet but friendly buzz in the building. I said a quiet ‚Äėthank you‚Äô to my mom who turned me into a library user all those years ago. Is there a better institution in our communities? I don‚Äôt think so. All those books, free! Continue reading