Mentor Letter

Wednesday did not start early enough for me. Interpret, I didn’t get up early enough to get my 3 morning pages done before life started. Before I knew it Charles was walking through the front door home from work for the day. Time is a sneaky beast, man. One that morphs with situations causing the day and seasons to speed up and slow down with no rhyme or reason that logically fits in the box of my mind. Despite my failure with the morning, I forced myself upstairs into my plumage painted room, plopped myself down and made The Artist Date happen. It is supposed to be two hours, this week I can only offer one, and I am calling it enough. In this forced hour date, I finished my 3 pages and I wrote out an exercise that my friend Julia has for us creatives at the end of each chapter. You know those ones I was telling you about on Tuesday. The ones that sometimes I don’t ever get back to. In chapter 2 she suggested we write a letter, a happy piece, of encouragement or a Thank you letter and mail it to yourself or a long lost mentor. She also suggested that we write a letter to an editor in our defense and get out the discouragement spoken over you along the journey. Considering I am my own worst enemy, and I have clearly defined that in my last posts, I am opting for the happy one.
It’s time for some happy.

So without further ado:

Dear Mrs. Mac.

I put a period at the end of Mac because I remember your real last name being INCREDIBLY longer then that. I can’t remember exactly what it is, but I know it was long. My sister probably remembers what your whole last name is, she is pretty incredible like that, and if I am writing this Thank You letter in all honesty, my sister is the reason why you loved me.

My sister, a talented dyslexic, could recite poetry and understand the depths of words read to her but for the life of her she couldn’t read out loud straight to you, and many times her papers were written backwards. She worked hard for you though. She valued excelling in school even though her brain was her nemesis. Funny to write the thing she esteemed worked the hardest against her. She didn’t give up though, and neither did you. You would meet with her, offer her the extra help needed and encourage her, encourage her, encourage her.

Then I walked through your doors not but 4 years later. Not only did I share in her depth and understanding of words read, but I could write. Easily concepts from assignments came to me, and with no work at all I would write out paper after paper. I remember one time in class, you asked for volunteers to read, I of course raised my hand, and you picked me letting me read away. At some point you stopped me and invited other people to read aloud, the only sound you received in feedback was a unified “no let Katie keep reading”. Now, I don’t know if that was the resounding response because 1. I said all the cuss words in the book without blinking, 2.if they just wanted to check out and not work, or 3. my reading was so mesmerizing that they just wanted to hear me read. I REALLY would love the answer to be option 3, and I think on some level that is what I have decided. There is no way to know though. Let’s just go with #3.

By now I am looking like a great student, giving you paper after paper, and volunteering to read in class, however you and I both know the truth. I was a horrible student. I was lazy with no value for school or the work that it took. Oh how it frustrated you. You weren’t but 5 ft tall and well into your 60’s but man did you have spunk, and you were not afraid of letting a student know when they were wasting their talents. I remember one time, you had to give me a C on a paper, because I simply did a inferior job. I waited until last minute to write it and although the content was there the careless way I wrote it demanded a C. You had me wait after class in that tan modular building every English class I had was in. You walked up to my desk where I was sitting and barely towered over me, you stamped your foot, put your hands on your slightly full hips and said, “I am so disappointed. Your sister worked so hard for every C I ever gave her, and you turn in this. You have a gift and you are wasting it. Please don’t waste it.”

I wish I could say that I took that conversation and change my ways. However I am now 35 writing you this letter, needless to say I didn’t. You however never gave up on me in the 4 years I was there. I took every English class I could with you, and then I was your TA my senior year and you never stopped asking me to be more. To embrace my gift and not waste it on idle youth. You believed in me, even when you HAD to give me a C. I can look back and see now, that although in the moment I thought it was cute and sweet that you had my back. I was missing a critical piece. It hurt you. I hurt you. How hard that must have been to believe in a young person so much and watch them do nothing with it. I am so sorry.

Thank you. Thank you for standing your ground with me. Thank you for giving me the memories to pull on today. I hope you can see your fight with my academic lethargy and immaturity wasn’t without reward. Your hope for me didn’t fall on hardened ground, although thats what it looked like. Below that surface of lackadaisicalness was soft brown soil, and I soaked in yours words. I grabbed onto your hope and stuffed it deep down. Today I am reaching into that soil pulling your words of encouragement and your belief. I am pulling on the memories of how you saw my gift and claiming them as on own.
Thank you, thank you and thank you will never be enough.
Your favorite newly transformed lackadaisical student
Katie

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