Wednesday, February 2, 2022

In Gratitude to A. and J.

 

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. Thank you to co-hosts for the February 2 posting of the IWSG: Joylene Nowell Butler, Jacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery.

This month’s optional question: Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss?

In a previous life, years into a business relationship with an outside recruitment professional I learned he had been diagnosed with OCD. This explained a lot of things, especially his habit of calling me at the same time every Thursday morning regardless of whether or not we had business to discuss. It was all good. Through those weekly calls we became friends.

In those days, I was a wistful wannabe writer so when he told me his MFA and published author daughter had challenged herself to write 750 words a day via a blog, I became a regular reader. At the time, I was a long-term HR manager and the work was, well—fine. The job was close to home, paid well, and the company was flexible when demands arose related to raising my then-teenage daughter. And, while I did wonder if there could be more to my [work] life, nothing motivated me to think about change—until I started reading that blog.

The author wrote with a luminescence and clarity that more than once brought me to tears. Her posts about family, motherhood, parents, and grandparents, writing and volunteering touched on truths inside me I had yet to admit. I began arriving early to work each morning to read the newest post, commenting on some of them—editing my own thoughts to make sure they read just right. It's no exaggeration to say her words reached into my heart, forced me to FEEL and stirred the writer in me.

Then one afternoon, in a company-wide expense reduction, the job I would have never left on my own left me. I woke the next day unemployed but with a singular recognition that my next phase had to be more than a 40+ hour work week that was simply “fine.” Inspired by my recruiter-friend’s daughter, I created Middle Passages to hold myself accountable to a regular writing schedule. Every word I’ve written since, for this blog or anywhere else traveled a direct path from those days when I couldn’t wait to fire up my computer to read what she had to say.

A year or so after I started Middle Passages, the writer’s blog went dark. Absent Thursday morning phone calls from her dad (which I confess, still happened long after my employment change), I only know she encountered heartbreaking life challenges. I’m afraid she may no longer be writing. The thought touches me beyond loss.

So, this post is a tribute to the woman whose words centered me with a focus I had no idea I was lacking. I write now knowing it’s the one thing that makes me feel whole and accomplished and connected to my core—and with eternal gratitude that so many years ago she triggered my introduction to the me I was always supposed to be.

 

25 comments:

  1. That's sad she stopped writing. Any way to find out where she's at? She'd be amazed to know the difference she made in your life.

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  2. Hi Liza - what an amazing tribute to this fascinating woman, I can see why you're still grieving for her - yet have taken advice from her and learnt so much. So glad you found 'your me - the person you're meant to be. Take care and all the best this year - Hilary

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  3. Yes, it would be amazing if you did find her. And it's amazing how much she inspired you to write your blog. I don't mean to make light of someone with OCD, but I chuckled about her father who called you every Thursday whether there was business to discuss or not.

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  4. We don't know who we'll affect or who will affect us. This is a wonderful essay on why it matters to share our passion. Thanks Liza!

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  5. How awesome that a a blogger's words affected you so much and inspired you to start your blog and write.

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  6. So in essence, you were inspired to write by a total stranger. That is a fascinating story, Liza. I hope you find out how she's doing and if she returns to her blog.

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  7. We really just never know who our words will touch and when. This is a wonderful post, Liza, and I hope there's some way this woman will find it, read it and be inspired by you just as you were by her.

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  8. Wow. What a lovely tribute to a virtual stranger. It's sad she's no longer writing, but like the stone thrown on the water, the ripples she made spread out and touched you. And that is a good thing.

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  9. It's funny how people probably don't know what little things are such nice influences - just time and effort. But since you were touched by such thoughtful help, I have no doubt that you have turned around and passed it forward. Maybe not directly, but in some ways. Keep on writing!

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  10. A wonder tribute and a lovely blog. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I love this story. And you told it especially well. That blogger was a good mentor for you. I hope you will find her one day and share this with her.

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  12. I love this story too. Funny how bad things can turn out for good. Seems like this prompt was tailor-made for you!

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  13. This is a beautiful story, I've had one or two blogger friends who have also stopped writing for one reason or another. I miss them. I am glad you kept writing.

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  14. This was a lovely tribute. Finding the people who inspire us to discover who we are is rare and important.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

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  15. Your tribute was very moving. I hope that person is doing okay and perhaps you in turn have inspired others in much the same way.

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  16. What a beautiful tribute. I hope she sees it and learns what she meant to you.

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  17. Thank you for sharing this inspiring, even if sad, story, Liza. Sometimes people can make a huge impact on your life without ever realizing it. I hope she was able to overcome her heartbreaking life challenges. And I hope she learns about what she did for you and how grateful you feel/

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  18. That is an uplifting story. She sounds like a wonderful inspiration. Hope she's well and happy out there somewhere.

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  19. What an amazing story! It’s so special that our words can touch someone we’ve never even met.

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  20. So interesting to learn the genesis of another's inspiration. Beautiful post. I hope she reads it!

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  21. What a beautiful tribute to someone who may not have known how she touched your life. That not knowing is what keeps me going, even when life gets hard. I have been lucky enough to meet a few fans who expressed how I changed their life with one of my stories. When I want to throw in the towel, I cling to those memories.

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  22. What a moving story and a wonderful tribute to this amazing woman. It is so incredible how this community touches so many people. Sadly, many of these people have no idea how much they had/have motivated others.

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  23. What a wonderful post. Have you looked her up? Is she still writing?

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  24. What a wonderful tribute!
    We never know how we may have touched somebody's life through our writing...

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