The Gift of Encouragement
This blog post is about my finding a way to plant the seed of writing my mother encouraged in me. That seed in me was nurtured by my mother until it was vibrant and strong. I am grateful for all my mother did as she guided me to use my Encouraging others is like planting seeds sometimes. This blog post is about writing talent as a gift from God and for God.
I did not know that my mother was a writer until she was a widow in her late sixties. She had always encouraged me in my writing career. In fact, that encouragement sometimes felt like prodding and pushing when I was a youngster.
I knew she loved to read but upon reflection, I realize I never saw her with a book until we were all raised, married, and living our own lives. Yet, she made sure I had new books as gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I had a library card at a young age.
And my mother who scrutinized much of my life as I grew up, keeping a watchful eye, never censored my reading. If she were here now, I'd thank her. Didn't realize what a gift that was.
When I visited her during her almost 30 years as a widow, we would sit near one another and read. We read newspapers, magazines and, books.
Somewhere during that era, I came to know my mother as a writer. I found out she'd written poems when my older brother was a toddler. That meant she was writing forty years before I ever read any of her work. And once she opened that partially shut author's door, she wrote steadily. She audited writing classes at the community college. She submitted poetry that was published.
When I needed a fact checker for a history of a cooperative I edited and helped write, she got on a plane and filled that role.
She was the first person I showed first drafts of early chapters in my novel now at the editing stage.
My mom is in a perfect place now, gone to heaven. I surely don't wish her back here on this troubled planet. But I would love to sit and chat with her about writing. Writers are an odd lot. Interesting, sometimes slightly peculiar, eavesdroppers, people watchers, often writing in their minds while at a social gathering, sitting on the front porch, rocking and thinking, experiencing life's tragedies and triumphs, while mentally storing scenes for a someday novel or poem. My mom instinctively knew that. And she was delighted that I was a fellow writer.
This year I found a way to honor my mom, fellow writers and young people who are fledgling writers. I gave a small scholarship in her name to a young woman who is a sophomore in high school. That scholarship allowed her to attend a writing conference. When we met in the hallway of the conference center, we hugged one another. Both of us had tears and smiles. And I knew I had finally found a way to pass on my mother's legacy as a writer while honoring her as my mom. I plan to do it again next year. This time I'll see if other family members want to join me. Small amounts can add up to a substantial scholarship given to a writer needing that kind of encouragement.