It has occurred to me recently, despite our age we are mentors of those who come behind us. An inspiration.
On my desk is a letter a young child wrote to me this past year. His mother and I are friends and once she mentioned I wrote and published a book, it kindled something inside him. So he wrote me a letter telling me how he wants to be a writer someday. He asked for my opinion of his current story. So I read it. Now, an English class or two would help but there Is time for that. I read the story a few times over, looking at the heart and soul of it, looking for a heart and soul.
I found it and wrote a letter back, stating all the positive things I liked about his work. I made a couple gentle suggestions and gave him the benefit of my experience. I mentored him in his quest.
Now, I don’t know if he will stick with wanting to be a writer years from now or not. Personally, it doesn’t matter. Because right now he does and right now is when he needs someone he respects to believe in him. Isn’t that what a mentor does? Invests in someone, believing they have good to share with the world and can do or be anything they want?
I have fond memories of two genteel old ladies, quite fashionable, that my mother knew when I was very young. I was told one had written books. When I one day mumbled I liked to write, they both, especially the author, exclaimed I could be a great writer. In a world where no one else did, two senior ladies thought this scruffy, shy, quiet kid could one day be a writer. In their own limited means, they mentored me. The short bit of time they spent with me, and their interest, kept a torch burning through my middle and high school years and beyond, fueling a desire to write. When I sold my first article and finally the first novel, it was a validation to their brief efforts when I silently made a toast to their memories.
Perhaps one day a child will grow to be a writer and look back fondly on the bits of time we as writers spent time with them, nurturing their dreams. Whether it begins with showing the worlds inside the covers of books or the talents of their imagination, time spent mentoring the generations behind us is always time well spent.