Years ago, for your birthday I took you to a writers’ conference. We were walking around before the first session, checking out the bookstore and getting cold drinks. Posted on a wall was a hand written announcement about an upcoming workshop titled “Comming Soon…How To Improve Your Writting.” Yes, coming and writing were misspelled. And it’s was misused for its, plus some other mistakes. You were so embarrassed for whoever had made the poster. I agreed, but I also didn’t want to point it out in front of others. So we waited, standing in front of it and blocking the mistakes. Finally a lady came by and asked if we had questions. When we learned it was her poster, we quietly pointed out the errors so she could correct them. You even offered to help.
She laughed. It had been a prop, and we were the only ones who responded. We received our choices of journals from the bookstore. The title of her speech later was “Why Are Writers Afraid to Help Each Other?”
You could have given that speech, Mom. One of the many things I learned from you is that helping someone else succeed does not take away from our own success. I watched you help children work on their spelling, teens write essays, peers work on poems and short stories. You could write beautiful passages, but you were also practical and succinct when that was called for. If you were stranded on an island (see above) you definitely would have used stones to write the short, clear, effective message–HELP–and then gone in search of firewood and food.
April is National Poetry Month. Last week you shared your poem, “In God We Trust,” with our blog friends. Next week, on April 10th is Encourage A Young Writer Day. If you were still able, you’d be the first one offering to help. But since you aren’t able, maybe some of the rest of us will step up in your place!
I love you, Mom.