This is a special edition of Thankful Thursday, birthed out of a writing prompt from the National Writing Project Annual Meeting. The direction was to take a moment to write a thank you to our writing mentors in the project. I, of course, DID NOT follow the directions and instead wrote to my very first writing mentor.
You were my very first writing mentor.
You put books into my mind before I was old enough to hold them in my own hands. You took me to the library and let me read whatever I wanted just for the pleasure of reading. Even when it meant I only read Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club. You had faith that I’d grow out of those books, that I’d grow up into richer things.
Thank you for giving me crisp notebooks to fill and for always reading my poems, even the really dreadful rhyming ones. Maybe especially those ones.
You were careful with criticism and generous with praise, honeyed words that drew me back to the blank page time and again.
Thank you for understanding that my first language is the written word and for speaking it to me fluently in notes in my lunch box, birthday cards, post cards when you were away and hosts of other scraps of your writing that I’ve squirreled away.
Those scraps of paper have bound me into the writer I am today. You were the first person to call me a writer and I’m starting to believe you.
I walk this earth, from the sunny skies of California to the humid heat of Africa, I walk with my pen in hand and a blank notebook because I am a writer.
I am a writer in large part because you first spoke that word over me.