Chris dreamed of stealing a Krispy Kreme truck and dropping off doughnuts at schools and nursing homes. He figured if he got arrested, with his ALS, what would they do to him? Thankfully, Krispy Kreme gave him a truckload of doughnuts, so he didn't have to resort to a life of crime.
What he did resort to, however, was making a difference. He's responsible for inspiring children to begin BIGG projects--Big Ideas for the Greater Good. Rosati said, "If I can't impact people, then this whole thing is a waste."
That got me thinking. Who has impacted my life? Specifically (since this is a site devoted to writing), who's impacted my writing life?
- My family--Going back to my middle school and high school years, my parents and grandparents saved all the articles I wrote for the school newspaper. Their pride gave me encouragement when I was just starting out. I still remember one year, I was 13 and sick (barfing and feverish sick) but I begged my dad to drive me to a local journalism competition so I could enter the contest. He did, and waited for me there. As soon as I finished writing, he drove me home. (I got an honorable mention.)
- A few English teachers (Mr. Miya. Mr. Gates and Mrs. Wright)--One of them let me do "independent study" for a year (reading and journal-writing) and one taught me self-discipline when it comes to research and organizing. One taught me to write without parameters. One taught me to not skimp when doing the necessary grunt work.They were high school teachers. Before them, there was Mr. Miya in 7th grade. He made me fall in love with poetry (via CSN & Y and Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell and Carole King and Don McClean lyrics). He also inspired the tattoo that now encircles my wrist:
- My writing critique group--These ladies have told me (in nice ways) when my writing sucks, along with when my ending's abrupt, when my beginning has no hook, when I start to ramble. They provide invaluable assistance. They're also generous with praise (when my writing warrants it) and resources.
- Local and Out-of-Town Blogging Friends--Being able to get nudged by writing friends keeps me honest. Recently I had lunch with some writers, and over lunch, each of us shared what we were currently working on. There was no hiding behind excuses and made-up stuff. What was I truly working on? What was I procrastinating about?
- My friends and family (or at least some of my family members)--My daughter has a row of Chicken Soup for the Soul books on her bookshelf (because she's proud of the stories I've gotten published). My son says, "That's great," when I get something accepted, and I get an embrace from the best hugger I know. (CS books are not even close to his thing.) I have a few friends who are not writers; one summer, the teachers I taught threw me a "book signing" party, complete with a photo session. I felt like I was Margaret Atwood. My husband is even less interested in my stories than my son. All he does is check where my story falls in the anthology. (In his addled mind, the stories in the front are the better pieces.)
Who has impacted your writing the most?
Last weekend, writing this post made me look up Mr. Gates. Through whitepages.com, I found a Greg Gates the right age, in St. Charles. I drove over, knocked on the door, and told his wife I was looking for Greg Gates who used to teach at Hazelwood West. She called back into the house, "Greg, there's a former student to see you." In an instant, over forty years were cast aside.
How about it? How about writing a letter or telling someone in person how they've impacted your writing? It might just make their day (and yours).
Sioux is a now a teacher because of Mr. Miya, Mr. Gates and Mrs. Wright. She is also a dog rescuer for Love a Golden, and is a freelance writer. You can read more of her musings by checking out her blog.