Thursday, May 25, 2017

No Writer Is an Island

Thank you, John Donne, for allowing my paraphrase. 

Every writer can look back to someone who either inspired him or her to start or to stick with it. With Mother's Day all around us, and folks still in a mood to express thanks to those someones who helped make us who we are, let's keep it going this week by honoring those folks who inspired us to write and to write better.

Who was it who helped you have the faith to begin writing? What they that person do to encourage you? 

Sean Taylor: I'm going to jump in on my own roundtable this time, if just to honor those folks who so deserve it. I have to credit three people with instilling in me the courage to write. The first is my high school English teacher, Geraldine Warren. I didn't remotely enjoy "school literature" until she made it fun and helped me to understand what it actually consisted of and how I could interpret it through my own experiences. The second is my wife, Lisa Taylor, who encouraged me to give it a try and see what happened, though she may likely regret that decision now. The third is Frank Fradella, who was there to encourage me at just the right time in my writing life and help me begin the network of writers I would need to have around me to succeed and become both better and published.

Brian K Morris: My mother, probably to spite my boring, uncreative father as much as nurture me. She initially taught me to read then encouraged me to read "real" books along with my comics as well as how to use a dictionary, an encyclopedia, and a library to supplement what I didn't know.

Bobby Nash: There were a few who helped a lot. Wilma Clark was an English teacher in high school. She caught me drawing/writing comics in class one day. Instead of scolding me for it, she asked to read it and then encouraged me to continue... so long as I continued doing well in her class. Harriette Austin was a great cheerleader and friend. I took her creative writing class at UGA's non-credit adult education center. I learned a lot about writing, but also about reading and talking to groups, a skill that still serves me well to this day. Sandra Gentry was also very helpful with that as well. She refused to let me hide behind my paper to read and forced me to look at the rest of the room. Jeff Austin also gave me some good advice that helped me move my writing in a direction that helped me a great deal.

Bill Craig: My parents and friends that I showed my stuff too were always encouraging but Mark Howell, then an editor with Gold Eagle gave me real encouragement and started buying some stories as fillers for short books.

John Morgan Neal: My homeroom teacher Mrs. Meyers at Crutchfield elementary. My high school English teacher Mr. Needham. My school buddies Chris Sakowski, Jeff Criger, Steve Walker, Kenny Maxwell, and John Bock.

Who was it who helped you keep going when you felt like stopping and just "settling" into some other plan? What did that person do to keep you going? 

Sean Taylor: Before I had a strong network or writers to help keep me going, I had my wife, as I mentioned earlier. She was my best cheerleader, and read (and edited) all my stuff up to a point. After I had built a better network of writing compatriots, I noticed that she was able to spend more time on herself, and I was able to lean on folks like Bobby Nash and Tommy Hancock to be my new "cheerleaders" and keep me from settling for something else, particularly when I was going through some dry and dark time for my writing career.

Brian K Morris: My wife, who knew writing was my dream, and when I lost my job five years ago, she encouraged me to follow my bliss.

Bobby Nash: I mentioned quitting once to my mother, just an offhand comment. She reminded me how much work I had put in and how far I had gotten and that she would hate to see me throw that away. I have friends who are also creators that I talk to when the stress of things gets to me. I won't name names here (although Sean and I have had several discussions about being a writer). Talking with someone who shares the same job and same job stresses helps.

John Morgan Neal: My Shooting Star buddies Sean Taylor, Scott McCullar, Erik Burnham, Scott Hileman and etc. Sarah Beach who has been invaluable as a sounding board. Becca Sue Upson has been a constant supporter and believer in me. Chuck Dixon has been incredibly generous and vitally important to me as a writer both in inspiration from his work and work ethic and belief in my talent and support of it.

Bill Craig: Through Mark Howell, I met Jerry Ahern and Don Pendleton, both were great mentors when it came to encouraging me to continue writing and because of that I now make a living at it.