Every once in a while, something happens in the life of a writer that makes her pause and say, “This makes it all worth it.”
One of those “somethings” happened last night. I was standing in line waiting to talk to my daughter’s English teacher during parent-teacher conferences. Seeing that it might be a while before my turn, I whipped out my phone to check my Facebook messages and found a note from my niece who is in college.
She explained that she’s working with a gentleman with Down syndrome, and apparently they were talking about writing, and, I’m assuming, she’d shared that her aunt is a writer and author. From that conversation came questions he wanted to ask this writer-aunt, which led to her reaching out to me on Facebook with his related note addressed to me:
Here it is verbatim:
For journaling, is it better to write with pencil or pen? I write about everything including problems, family, work, food, taking pictures, and relationships.
Another question is, if I wrote a book and shared it with someone, do they have to keep it a secret, or can they share it?
Do you write everyday? Where do you like to write at? What time of day do you prefer? How many minutes do you spend everyday writing?
What is the best way to get your thought out?
At that point, I was no longer in a dreary line but filled with excitement and energy. My emotions ranged from “deeply touched” to “charmed” to “grateful.”
I’m deeply touched that someone thought to ask me — that would include both my niece and her client. In the everyday of things, we can lose perspective, not fully appreciate the skills and knowledge we’ve acquired through the years. This simple note served as a reminder that somehow, it all counts for something. I now have the opportunity to enrich someone’s life through what I’ll share.
I’m charmed because his questions are so pure, so “from the heart,” that I couldn’t help but beam as I read them. And it didn’t escape me, once again, how valuable the act of writing is…not just to the professional writer, but someone who just wants to get his thoughts down on paper to sort through the details of his life, bring meaning to them somehow.
I’m grateful because I know that it takes guts to bring the heart questions we work so hard to guard straight up to the surface, and then, put them “out there.” That is a very bold step. Many people never even reach that level of their writing dreams. It all stays inside and hidden. That he is interested and wondering about sharing his writing brings joy to my heart. It reminds me of the power of the written word.
Some might have seen in this a brief note and jotted off some quick answers. But I see something else. I see the yearnings of a soul, of a man with Down syndrome who has unique challenges in his life, no doubt, but nevertheless dared to cast aside the obstacles because he knew the payoff could be worth it.
The note also caused me to think about this writing gift that I’ve been given, and to feel richly blessed all over again by it. I was set on this writing path many years ago, and despite other distractions and possible avenues, I stuck with it. And now, here I am, being tapped as a resource for someone who wants to live out his writing dreams, and is looking to me for a way to start.
This is not small. It’s huge. And this…makes it all worth it.
Q4U: My niece said I could wait a few days before responding to “D,” so I’d like to throw out these questions to you writer-readers. If you would, could you read “D’s” questions again, choose one or two, and share how you would answer them? I will share them with him, along with any that I come up with. Thanks in advance!