Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank a Mentor--Take One

Don't worry--I'll be addressing this whole single-tasking journey again soon! But I've had some unrelated thoughts. I am realizing how much other blog posts inspire me to write my own. This one, by my new cyber-friend Lena Roy (also the grandaughter of my favorite author, Madeleine L'Engle) challenged me to think about the individuals who've impacted my life over the years. I have a host of mentors and I want to thank every single one. It may take me a few months to get to all of them. And of course, I'm sure I'll leave one out, but that's a risk I'll take.
I would be remiss if I didn't begin with my beloved art teacher, Sue Hand. I was just a wee thing when I started taking lessons at Sue Hand's Imagery--affectionately called the "Studio" by teachers and students alike. Younger kids, from Kindergarten through 4th or 5th grade, were taught by Sue's assistants. I still remember the terror that struck my heart when, somewhere around 4th grade, Sue Hand herself said I was ready to move up into her class. Her class was full of big kids, all the way up to seniors in high school! And what's more, they were good at art. Some of them really good. Take Leigh Pawling for instance. She was is a real artist! You get the idea. It was intimidating for a nine-year-old, especially one as awkward and timid as I was. But I quickly learned that Sue Hand was not to be feared. The Studio was a place of solace. The aromas of watercolors, acrylics, graphite and paper soothed my soul in a way that nothing else could. I was never going to be a professional fine artist--writing has always been my first love. But I liked to draw and paint and Sue was my ally in every facet of life. I joined a group of girls who met at her house for Bible Study (we called it "Group") every Wednesday night and together we laughed and cried our way through High School problems with the help of the Old and New Testaments. Sue championed our causes and believed in us every step of the way. And she still does. I remember her telling me I was a real writer already, even in high school. How much that meant coming from a successful artist! Whenever I'm in town, I try to stop at the Studio for one of her hugs and a chat. I'll never forget her words when I was pregnant with Camilla and trying to decide what path to take for the birth. I was leaning towards the Bradley Method and a natural experience, but nervous about the whole thing of course.
Sue said, "I'll be proud of you no matter what you do."
I want to have that attitude, towards my kids and anyone I have the priviledge to be proud of.
Sue, you are an inspiration to so many. Thank you for believing in me before I believed in myself! 

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