sometimes i do better with people than i think i do. and sometimes even my screw ups work out. i don't know how, and, in a way, it's embarrassing, but sometimes i manage to do something good.
i've had a number of people tell me i'm a mentor for them in their writing, and i'm almost used to that. i admit, when i started dii, it was mostly for selfish reasons. oh, yea, i wanted to provide a place for other writers, but face it, there's a ton of other writing groups and workshops out there, both r.l. and online. i was tired of getting next to no comments on my work or having to wait months for enough comments to help me with my revisions. i knew others were having the same problems, and so many workshops require money for membership, that i knew my idea would work for others, but it was primarily for me. yea, i can be a selfish bitch when i want to be.
but i never expected me to end up being a mentor for anyone. i'm barely a mentor for myself! i always wanted a mentor, just am not in the right place to really find one. so i buy the books i need (and more than a few that i end up not needing) and try to get myself the information i need to be a better writer. i am a member of several crit groups to get input on my work and combine that with the "good writing principles" i learn about in my reading. it's not the best way to get your mentorship since i don't have any actual publication experience (lots of submission experience), but it works when you have nothing better.
perhaps it's my persistence that has other people seeing me as a mentor. when they ask for information, i usually just tell them what my reading says works. regardless, i'm sort of getting used to being told that i'm someone's mentor, a little anyway. it still embarrasses me, i don't feel like a mentor, but then again, what's a mentor supposed to feel like?
but every so often i get a surprise and am told i've helped in an entirely different way. i got two of those surprises this week.
the first is a friend who was studying computer stuff at school. over the past few months he's been complaining a lot about how much he dislikes the classes. and i do mean a lot! he's been avoiding the homework, he dislikes them so much. i made the comment that he should change his major to english with a focus on writing if he can, if he finds the pc thing so boring. to his surprise, somewhere in the back of his mind he had the idea that he wasn't allowed to do that. when he thought it through, he realized that he was being irrational and made the decision to change his major. he hasn't tried the classes yet, but he felt immediately happier. and it really shows in his i.m. conversations.
granted, he had to face the parents and let them know about his decision and all that, and he still has to make it official at the school, but he claims it's all my fault. i think he would have gotten there on his own. it may have taken him a year or two, but he would have. really!
the other person i helped is . . . was an abuse victim. we'd had something of a falling out over something i said. i agree it was insensitive, but i also feel what i said was the truth. she forgave me, but we hadn't been speaking much since then, so i figured the relationship was pretty much lost. we talked yesterday and it turns out her absence and silence was attributed to two major things: family and counseling. yes, because of me (she says), she has decided to finally deal with the abuse. she has made the choice to be a survivor instead of a victim.
and she sent me this:
well, thank you! nice to know i didn't screw up completely when i thought i did! but really, all the thanks i need is to see you make that journey from victim to survivor.
sometimes, the best thanks there is is to see that people are living happier and healthier lives, no matter who or what you attribute the changes to.
and it's nice to know that sometimes i manage to make someone's life a little better, that i manage to encourage them to change direction in a positive way, even if i don't understand it.