In my writing class a couple weeks ago, I didn’t have a good day. I was unprepared for the quiz (I had forgotten what an icky feeling it is to be unprepared for a test). Then I had a little problem hearing when a soft spoken young girl read her story in class, which made me feel just plain OLD. And, as a topper, I felt Dr. H was just a smidge sharp with me when I asked where the draft of my story was that I had turned in last week. (Full-time students have on-campus mail boxes, so everyone else received theirs back that way.) The way he said that I must not have checked my home mailbox, because he had mailed it to me and it should have arrived the day before, made me feel somehow remiss that I hadn’t known that it was coming that way (I think he assumed I would know).
On my way home, in terrible snowy weather, requiring white-knuckle driving, I had just a good old fashioned pity party for myself. I was thinking, “I don’t belong in this writing class. . . .I should ask if I could get some of my money back. . . .These kids are way out of my league. . . .This Prof doesn’t really like having an ‘old’ student.” Whine. Whine. Whine.
When I got home I didn’t go to the mail box right away because I didn’t think it would help my “funk” if the paper was there, and his comments weren’t kind. But, later when I was feeling better (because Hubby had listened and sympathized), Hubby went out to get the mail.
My paper was there and Dr. H had made very constructive comments on it. And, at the end, he had written, “Thank you for reading your story in class. You are a wonderful addition to this class!”
Immediately, an amazing transformation occurred. Just those few kind words turned my whole day around. I hope he really does like having me in the class, because his comments have motivated me to stay with it “for the long haul.”
I tell you this story because I think all of us need to be reminded once in a while what power there is in a few kind words.
P.S. I’m mailing that first story today to the magazine contest we are required to enter with each of our three stories. I haven’t shown it to you here because the instructions for the contest say stories must be “previously unpublished” and I’m afraid they might consider writing it on my blog “published.” Once it’s through at the magazine though, I’ll definitely post it here, because I have to say I am kind of proud of it. I have learned so much from this first story, especially how a story evolves from draft to draft. Whether I never write another story, or I write a hundred more, I will always remember the thrill of mailing out this first completed story!
P.S.S. Wouldn’t it be funny if some day I found out that Hubby took a pen with him to the mail box, and that the kind comments “from Dr. H” were written by Hubby!