Yesterday, I went to a friend’s art gallery and book signing. She’s actually the same person who filmed and produced my book trailer, Chris Kridler, with Sky Diary Productions. I was blown away by the amazing storms she has photographed, and with wine in hand, I spent lots of time in the back, watching footage from her storm chasing expeditions in Oklahoma and Nebraska.
Little did I know that I would run into my high school English teacher; the man who took the seed planted by a fifth grade teacher, who told me I should save my short story for publication, and encouraged my writing, by watering that seed, nurturing it, watching it grow.
I graduated high school in 1995, and yet he remembered me. He remembered our classroom conversations, where he and I would discuss the plot and character of Lord of the Flies and 1984, while the rest of the class just listened. He remembered the way I word crafted and told stories, as well as my personality, which he described as charismatic and bubbly and unforgettable.
He wasn’t surprised when I shared that I had just published my first novel.
What I do think surprised him was that I attributed my success to him.
I have thought of this teacher many times over the years. I have never lost sight of the words he told me, the encouragement to take my writing seriously, and to move to the next level with my craft. I have thought of this man as I have toiled over words, wondering if I am good enough. His face has stayed in my mind, reminding me that I am. Thank you, John Harbaugh!
How often our words seem to fall of our lips, yet the impact they carry cannot be measured. Encouragement or destruction slips off the tips of our tongues. The words we scribe into short stories, poems, plays, and novels may be those timeless treasures that lift a reader out of a slump or bring laughter to a depressed heart.
What an honor to be called a writer. What a gift to be allowed to teach through words.
How will you use the talent you have been given? Will it be buried beneath fear and self-doubt? Or will you rise to the calling and tell the story you have been given, never knowing if it is just to share with others or to change their lives.
Check out this storm footage from Chris’s youtube channel: