Thankful Thursday: Get A Mentor

Indexed by Jessica Hagy

I met my mentor in the middle of a hostage crisis.

As a SWAT team swarmed a ratty house in a forgotten field, I chatted up a colleague who would become a valuable mentor and, decades later, one of my closest friends.

Twenty years ago, she was a seasoned reporter for the state’s largest newspaper, and I was fresh from college, working as an over-eager, under-prepared reporter for a small town newspaper.

It didn’t seem right to chat and giggle in the middle of a gun-toting, armor-inducing situation, but it was a welcome relief to find an ally in the midst of this backwoods kind of crazy.

Aside from asking questions and taking notes, I didn’t know much. But I knew enough to keep my mouth shut and my eyes open. She’d worked for both small and large papers. She was smart and opinionated. She told stories of grouchy editors and wacky sources. She found life disgusting and delightful, in equal measure, and I aspired to be her.

Over the years, she nudged me toward better jobs and opportunities, and we grew into ourselves and our careers. In our own time, we each moved away from newspapers and into other media and marketing worlds. We shifted from mentor to colleagues to, ultimately, friends.

I've now known my mentor for half my life. And we now show ourselves more fully, not just the professional parts but our personal success and struggle too. We laugh a lot. We read newspapers and grumble. We drink martinis (which she taught me to enjoy: Bombay Saphire, shaken, hint of vermouth, three olives). We sigh.

Years ago when I stood in that field waiting for a man to come to his senses I had no idea I was meeting a person who would mark my life, and my heart.

Recently, I spent time with a young woman I met over a decade ago, when she was a high school student and I was a volunteer for a teen writing group. We’ve kept in touch over the years, through her first job, her first (and second) apartment, her marriage, her move out of state. We’ve shared poems, letters and life-changing decisions.

When we met for lunch, we hadn’t seen each other in several years. And yet we started just where we had left, chatting about books, art, clothes, love . . . I saw that she moved with more poise and spoke with greater assurance. She had grown into herself. This is how it feels, I thought, to witness a person becoming.

Wistful and proud, I was standing now on both sides of mentorship, grateful.

It's Thankful Thursday (on Friday), a weekly pause to express gratitude for people, places, things and more. Our joy contracts and expands in direct relation to our thankfulness. What are you thankful for today?



Be Who You Are

And now, a bit of Monday morning encouragement:

You're not a Pisces? You don't believe in horoscopes?

So what! This is universal advice — for free!

Read it, know it, live it.



Thankful Thursday (on Friday): Blooms

Photo by Jayne Guertin, Suburban Sililoquy
Star Magnolia.* Camellia. Crocus.

Lithodora. Narcissus. Hyacinth.

Bradford Pear. Crabapple. Cherry.

Everything is opening.

I'm strolling into spring with wide smile and dropped jaw. Blue skies. Sunny days. I'm practically skipping. Flowers bloom, days shine, and I'm one with Walt Whitman singing in spring. I embrace e.e. cumming's puddle wonderful world.

On this Thankful Thursday, I rejoice in these first blooms on this first day of spring.

It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to express appreciation for all things, big and small. What are you thankful for today?


* Speaking of magnolia, don't you love that movie? Magnolia is one of my Top 10 Favorite Films. 



On the Art of Being

Even now, as my life is

winding itself to a close,

I am learning and teaching and 

loving life. Every. Single. Day.

- Currie Silver


When we read, creativity stirs.
And when we create, our lives expand.

That's why I ask writers and artists
to share with me books that have
informed their work and life.

The latest edition of 3 Good Books
features Currie Silver, a visual artist
with lung cancer who embodies the
the art of being.

Join us here.




Try This: Read, then Write

In late-winter, when the holiday glow is long gone and the promise of summer is impossible to hold, monotony can dull the senses.

We're in the middle of things, and my writing mind feels lazy. You too?

I'm doing my best to embrace practices that get me in the groove.

Lately I've started each writing session by reading the work of another poet. This allows me to slip into a new language and pace, which then informs my own writing. Many times the exercise yields blah blah blah, but I'm still exercising the writing muscle. Writing, even "bad writing," is never wasted. 

I choose readings at random, paging through an anthology, and have been happy to discover new-to-me poems, some of which have led to "keeper" lines and poems of my own.  Song by Adrienne Rich, and The Night, the Porch by Mark Strand have been especially inspiring.

Try this: Read someone else's work, then write something, anything, of your own.

Don't think, just write. Let the pen explore phrases, ideas and connections. See where the words take you. Don't try to make sense. Or do. Let go.

Reading other works sets a fresh tone and pace. You slip into a new cadence, and that allows the mind to explore new ground. 

Try it, and let me know where this writing practice takes you.

Try these others too:
Try This: Month by Month
Try This: Postcard Poems
Try This: Alphabet Poem
Try This: Morning Read & Write
Try This: Book Spine Poetry
Try This: Poetry Poker