Today, I was talking to a colleague who is participating in the Slice of Life. I shared how much I have enjoyed writing everyday. Drafting stories that I’ve meant to get down on paper, writing poetry for the first time in years and trying different writing styles has given me, what I can only describe as a spiritual high. I liken it to the feeling one gets when endorphins activate during intense exercise.
As I shared these thoughts with my colleague, I started to think back to a time when I felt this passionate and enthusiastic about my own writing. As I played a montage of different periods in my head, profession and personal, I rewound to when I became passionate about writing. I was a 19-year old college sophomore. While I enjoyed the academic rigors of school, I valued my social life more. To give you a clearer picture, my weekend started on Thursday nights and ended Monday nights. My robust social pursuits and academic interests made it a time of great personal growth and change.
During Christmas break, I came home to my parent’s house. This was the usual routine. Come home, eat well, catch up on sleep and visit with old friends. However this visit was different, as it would forever change how I viewed the art and craft of writing.
I found a box.
It was filled with letters, written by my grandfather to my mother.
Grandpa Phil died just before I was 8.
While we didn’t have a lot of years together, I have many fond memories. We’d play ball together. He bought me my first baseball uniform and was generally up for anything I wanted do, an 8 year old couldn’t have asked more their grandfather.
However, my grandfathers’ biggest influence were those letters, found two decades ago over Christmas break. While the subject of the letter is irrelevant to this post, the beauty and strength of his words inspired me, not so much for what he wrote to my mom, but the way he used language.
He strung his words together like an artist, demonstrated strength, compassion, wisdom and humor. I wanted to do that. I committed to become a better writer that day, working on the craft so I could have the kind of power that my grandfather demonstrated in those letters. I still have those letters. While they are packed away in a box, his words still inspire and drive me today.
For that grandpa, I say thank you.