Back to School

No, I’m not talking about Rodney Dangerfield’s movie Back to School, but I did love that flick. It was so funny. I am however heading back to school next month, but only for three days. The nice folks down in Carteret County have invited me to share with their middle and high school students a little about my novel, Guardian Spirit. I am so honored to be able to share my story with young people. I sometimes wonder if I would have been more determined to become a published author earlier in life if I’d had someone to inspire and encourage me.


Probably not. Why, because I was raised to be a very conventional person. Growing up I was taught to work, and sitting around with a note pad and pencil in my hand was not considered legitimate labor. Not to my father’s generation anyway. So my younger years of writing were behind closed, and often times locked doors. When the chores were done and I was left to pursue my own yearnings I printed my hearts desires down on the pages of a college ruled composition book, or in my pink diary. I did not share a single thing I had written until I was fifteen years old. A very dear friend Larry was killed in an automobile accident and I wrote a poem about him. I let one of my youth leaders at church read it and he encouraged me to give a copy of the poem titled, The Black Car to the boy’s parents.


That poem built a bridge of friendship between Larry’s mother and I. She and I went on to become a team, a pair that you often saw together, especially after her husband and daughter passed away and she was left with only one brother and sister who lived out of town. We spent many hours together reminiscing about days when things for her had been much sweeter. What a sad thing for a woman to lose both children and a husband. When I think back to that poem I now realize it had a special power. It took a horrible situation and paved a way for better days. That poem formed a kinship between two women who loved the same boy.


When I go to Carteret County next month my desire is to encourage these young people. To tell them over, and over again: to be able to write an interesting story, or poem, is a God given talent, a gift to be nurtured and valued. I can only hope they have a good support system around them. Cheering them on. Helping them to soar, to live their dreams. I’ve said before that there is a story in all of us, but some times the tales stay locked up inside our heads, never released so as to touch someone’s heart, making them laugh or cry. I want to help these young people find the courage to release their words into the wild.


The last four years of my life has been devoted to writing. I still feel guilty when I spend the day with my pencil in hand. I look around and see the dirty windows and cobwebs and I hear my daddy say, “Girl there’s work to be done, get up off your butt.” Or is that my husband’s real voice I’m hearing? Either way, I’ve learned to shut out the demons that work against a creative mind. I don’t know where this literary journey may lead me but I do know that as long as I’m touching a few people along the way then I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.


So students of Carteret County here I come. We’re going to discuss the highs and lows of trying to get a book published. We’ll talk about talent and education, but mostly we’ll create. We’re going to tell the stories that float through our heads. Speaking them to the world with our mouths and writing them down with strokes from our pens. I know all things happen for a reason, and if my talking to young people inspires just one to become a serious writer, then all is well. I’ve done my good deed and the world will be a much better place for it. There very well may be a young Mark Twain or Laura Ingalls Wilder in that next classroom that I visit! We may never know on this earth just who we have touched with our written words.


1 Timothy 4:12

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Loretta Cooper March 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Sarah,
You have a very inspiring message. I feel you will touch many lives in the days to come. God bless you. Loretta

Jessica Roe April 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Thank you so much for visiting our middle school! I loved the presentation!
– Jessica Roe
Morehead middle

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