by Leonard Bishop, Author of Dare To Be A Great Writer
As I drive to Manhattan to teach a writing class, I’m thinking about my students. They are beginning to see their own growth as writers. They are amazed. I want to tell them: “It was always there. Your efforts, your commitment, is forcing it out. There is more, yes, there is much more to emerge.”
They are stronger people than when I first met them. They have become outspoken, honest. They criticize each other’s writing and there is no anger, no hostility. They’ve dropped their shyness, their fear, and they are tougher. No longer hyper – sensitive to someone pointing out a defect in the writing. It is there. Like a thick wart on an eyelid. There is no way to deny the defect. They become more competent by eliminating these defects. In time, each one of them will publish.
Week after week I watch the splendid changes begin to issue over their surfaces. They are studious, they have moved out from the ordinary into the unique. They throb with feeling, they crackle with thought, they lean forward, absorbed in this time of creativity. They have privileged me with the greatest flattery an instructor can earn. I, personally, am not important to them. They have begun to pick on me – – how wonderful.
They joke about my clothes, these columns, my ignorance about Kansas, my inane humor. They feel no, awe or fascination about me. I’m just a professional writer with the skill for instruction. They’ve gotten past my gross personality and are learning how to use what I know for their own personal work.
They are men and women who deserve respect. They have a dream. It is individual, it is exceptional, it is a power in their hearts that can launch rockets into the cosmos. I know their sacrifices, I know their pain. But they have begun to learn the explosive insights of professional writing.
Every fear they overcome is a courage they inherit. Every day they ignore yesterday’s failure is another push into achievement. The joy of life happens when leaping toward the dream is more vital than laying in your depression. If we ever awaken without a dream ahead of us, we lived that day in idle sleep. Failure cannot ever happen to anyone who uses a long part of their life to succeed. “Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.” (Wilson)
©2013 the Estate of Leonard Bishop
(first published July 14, 1985 the Manhattan Mercury)