Words – that’s what we’re all about here, are we not? But not just any words – words that have the power to move.
No matter how passionate you are about your work, do you ever question if what you’re doing really matters in the larger scheme of things in life? Sometimes I ask myself – how much a difference does my memoir work make as I encourage sons and daughters to recognize the character of loved ones by capturing their spirit a short, true tale? Does teaching others to write “Mother Memoir” and my collecting stories that connect us on a universal level touch others like it touches me?
A couple of validations that I’ve received lately from students renews my belief that what I do is powerful; it does make a difference. I think we all appreciate hearing from people we’ve inspired in one way or another. I’ll share just two gifts of gratitude with you.
Yesterday I received an email from a man whose words reinforced in me that the passion I have for inspiring and coaching people to write memoir is being channeled in the right way. I am doing what I should be doing.
-------But first, in the spring of this year, he wrote several times: “This weekend has turned into a powerful emotional journey for me. Thanks, again, for getting me excited about writing, and making me believe it's possible to succeed. Writing workshops are good for me. I had become closed to a portion of my creativity – all of my dreaminess, a large fraction of my joy and laughter, and every molecule of conviction that I was accomplishing what I was born to do.”
“So now I will try to write. If I succeed, I will remember you as the one who nudged me out the gate. If I fail (which is only another form of success, I've learned) I will thank you for giving me the courage to try.”--------
“Lynn, I can’t remember the last time I cried about my mom. There was a wall between my heart and my memories of the brief time while I had a mom, writing this brought that time back to life in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. This project has given me the strength to pick up that burden, and embrace it as my mother’s final gift. You have definitely tapped into something of real value for people.”
Yesterday, now six months later, the subject line of his email was simply, Gratitude: “We haven’t communicated for a while. I feel I owe you a note of thanks. My writing has taken off since that mini-memoir you prompted me to write. My blog is thriving (not in terms of numbers of readers, really, but in terms of loyal and consistent following,) and I am applying to MFA programs in creative nonfiction. I feel like my mother, through you, has liberated me to start doing the thing I've always most wanted: write.”
A woman at a recent The Story Woman™ Story Salon showered me with this, “Thanks for such a memorable and thought provoking experience…. I’ve thought so much about what was said, felt, and rather magically shared. THOSE MOMENTS WHEN SOMEBODY GETS SOMETHING RIGHT. EXACTLY RIGHT, THE RAREST EVENT. You got it exactly right!”
I hope these comments have served as examples of how great it makes us feel to be appreciated and to know that our writing or teaching has, indeed, energized those around us. So, dear friends, take a few minutes today to let a mentor, teacher, friend, or family member know how they’ve empowered you to think or act in a new way or that their vision has allowed you to expand your horizons due to the passion infused in their work. Truly a win-win scenario.