"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing Mentors

General Warren - Little Round Top - Gettysburg, PA
Photo by Loree Huebner

Wikipedia defines the modern use of mentor as - a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person.”
Over the course of my life, I’ve had many mentors to help me along or keep me on the straight paths, heading in the right direction for the things that were important to me – school, work, marriage, raising kids, growing in my faith, exercise, Civil War re-enacting, computers, networking, and writing. I remember each mentor fondly, keeping the warmth of their inspiration and encouragement in my heart forever.
Now, if we really think back to all of our mentors—excluding the ones from our families—just a few really stick out. They are those strong forces that made a real difference in our life. You know the ones—those who were there during a life-changing-turning-the-corner moment—the people who are beyond the normal family realm, who helped us out along the way on our life journey.
For me, it’s a teacher, a preacher, and a writer.
Some mentors stay close in our lives, and some mentors come into our lives for only a season.
Just recently, Eric and I were saddened to hear of the loss of such a mentor. A few weeks back, Paul C. Cooksey, passed away at his home in Gettysburg. He was 73. Paul was a Licensed Battlefield Guide in Gettysburg for over 25 years. He loved telling the story of the Battle of Gettysburg. He was also a writer, and a Civil War re-enactor. Paul had many history articles published, and wrote for Gettysburg Magazine.
Eric and I met Paul online about 10 years ago, playing Civil War Trivia. We met in person a short time after that.
He became a friend who mentored us in our writing of non-fiction history articles. He took the time and talked at great lengths with us about writing history, particularly on one cold November night, over Chinese food and some refreshments at his home in Gettysburg. Without going into the depths of the conversation, that night Paul inspired us to step beyond our comfort zone. That inspiration also spilled over in to our historical fiction writing. That night would change us forever. This year, Eric and I finally had our first (Civil War) history article published.
Over the years we kept in touch and saw Paul on occasion when we would visit Gettysburg. Every so often, he would send over a newly written article for us to look over and comment on. The past few years our correspondences became sparse—you know, work, busy lives...etc. And I know he had a few health issues that he was dealing with.
One main point he left us with was, “Historical fiction or non-fiction...do your own research—walk the grounds where the events took place, check sources, and then check their sources.”
He was there for a season, and I will never forget him.
Have you had a mentor who influenced your writing, or just you personally? Is your mentor still around, or were they only there for a certain season? Are you a mentor? 
I would love to hear from you.
Between you, me and the gatepost,

This week I received 2 more blog awards—one from the lovely, Brandi Boddie, and the other from the beautiful, Stacy Henrie. I'll share more about the awards on next week’s post. Until then, head on over and check out what these awesome lady writers have got going on at their blogs this week.


Sandra Orchard said...

Sorry for your loss, Loree. I too lost a dear writing mentor a few months ago.

Ron aka TheOldGeezer said...

My dad was a passive kind person who never seem to let things bother him. I was quite the opposite. I didn't realize it while I was growing up but he was a good example and a positive influence on my life when I became an adult.

Take care and have a nice day :-)

Thanks for your recent comment on My Blog

Gwendolyn Gage said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Loree. I don't have a writing mentor, but God did bless me with a spiritual mentor when I moved to Texas as a single college student ten years ago. We've been friends for so long that she's more than that now - she's family to not only me, but to my husband and son as well. :-)

Anonymous said...

Loree, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend and mentor.

I've often heard it said that those special folks come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I know in my own life that has been so true.

I've had several mentors along the way. One very special teacher in high school was quite influential in my life. Her name was Mrs. Ellis and I treasured her insights...

Terri Tiffany said...

What a lovely tribute to this man! I am trying to think who my writing mentor would be-- I have to say my critique partner Jill because she was the one who finally got it into my head that I needed to learn GMC to write a good book. before that, I wrote however it felt good:))

Loree Huebner said...

Sandra: I'm sorry for your loss also. His passing really affected me.

Geez: You're dad sounded like a wonderful man. Thanks for sharing. I feel the same way about my mother. She was a perfect example of a wife, mother, sister, neighbor...

Gwen: Thanks. It's funny that some mentors become family. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Cynthia: I've heard that reason, season, lifetime saying too. Mrs. Ellis sounds a lot like my Mrs. P (the teacher) I think of her often, and like you said about your teacher, "treasure her insights." Thanks for sharing.

Terri: How wondeful that your critique partner is your mentor. Jill knows that there is a writer in there, and she's helping you get it out. Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Sandra, Geez, Gwen, Cynthia, and Terri, thanks for stopping in!

Brandi said...

Sorry for your loss, Loree. I pray that God gives you comfort and strength. No doubt Mr. Cooksey's legacy will live on in the lives of people he touched and in your writing.

troutbirder said...

It's hard to say goodbye to such people. My experience has been more mentor (teacher, union leader, fisherman, hunter, gardener etc.) than mentored. A whole new world was opened to me in recent years by a long time friend who brought me into the world of birding. For that in my retirement years I'm very grateful...

Sarah Forgrave said...

Wow, Loree, what an awesome influence. Thanks for sharing!

A writer friend sort of took me under her wing as I sought representation, and I'm so grateful for the way she cheered me on (and continues to cheer).

Loree Huebner said...

Brandi:Thank you so much for your kind words.

trout: You do strike me as the mentor type. I bet there are people out there today who think of you with fond memories and carry your wisdom.

You know I love birding too.

Sarah: That's just so awesome to have someone like that to "take you under her wing" and cheer you on. We all need that sometimes.

Brandi, trout, and Sarah, thanks so much for popping in!

Michelle Teacress said...

I can think of two right off, though I'm sure there are more.

I'm sorry about Paul. It probably meant a lot to him that he had an impression on your lives.

Marji Laine - Faith-Driven Suspense said...

Your friend certainly left a legacy. I'm sorry for your loss. I would be hard-pressed to choose just one mentor. But your article makes me want to think about that more.
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your story. Yes, I have a mentor, a Christian lady whom I met at a writers' group site. She is still around. She has been encouraging me in writings. Her kind and sincere heart reflects God's Love.

Loree Huebner said...

Michelle: Over the course of our lives there are many...but only a few that really stick with us.

Marji: It would be hard to just choose one. I have three that really influenced me in one way or another...

Dicky: Thank you for sharing about your mentor. She sounds just wonderful. I love when we see God's true love in someone's heart. Beautiful!

Michelle, Marji, and Dicky, thanks for your kind words and sharing your own feelings. So wonderful of you all to stop by.

Candie Leigh said...

I wish I had mentor! Alas it's just me in this writing game floundering around laboriously. We each have our own road I guess. :-)

Off to tweet your blog and march out-of-step to my own rhythm.

Thanks for the fun post.

Jess said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I feel like mentors should be more visible in society than they are, particularly among younger folks. There's such a wisdom that comes with age, not just in facts, but in perspective as well.

Stacy Henrie said...

Sorry for your loss, Loree! I've had several teachers who were influential in my life. I've lost track of some and one recently passed away who I'd kept the best contact with. My DH and I attended his funeral and it was neat to hear more about his life and his service to others.

Loree Huebner said...

Candie: Welcome here! Glad you stopped in.

Jess: I agree with your comments. Sometimes when we're young, we don't realize that the person giving us a nudge in a direction or some gentle guidance is a mentor.

Stacy: Thanks for sharing. I've lost track of a few mentors in my time.
It does seem we discover our own mentors were mentors to others too. Some are just meant to serve that way.

Candie, Jess, and Stacy, thanks for stopping in!

Carol Riggs said...

Sorry for your loss. I've never really had a mentor, per se. I've had writer friends who were and are crucial in my writerly development, and I guess I did have an English teacher in high school who jumpstarted me into writing (and he passed away a number of years ago).

Congrats on your blog awards too!

Jessica Nelson said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Loree. I always thought it would be nice to have a mentor.

Loree Huebner said...

Carol: Sometimes friends are "mini" mentors. They are the ones that help here and there along way.

Jessica: Thanks for your kind words, Jessica.

Carol and Jessica, thanks for coming by this week.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Two writing mentors that have added grace and wisdom to my journey are Clella Camp and Patti Lacy. I thank God for causing our paths to cross.

So sorry to hear of your friend's passing.

K. Victoria Chase said...

Sorry to hear about your loss Loree!

Prasetyo said...

Nice articles. I'm just blogwalking and very happy to stop here. And also give you some comment here.

Dont forget to give us some your comment into my blog too.

Thanks for share,
* Rio Prasetyo *

Loree Huebner said...

Jeanette: Thanks for sharing your mentors with us.

Tori: Thank you. Your words mean a lot.

Prasetyo: Thanks for your comment.

Jeanette, Tori, and Praysetyo, thanks for stopping in!

Jayne said...

Loree- How lucky you are to have had Paul for a Season. I'm sorry to hear of your loss--when we lose mentor, it's like losing a part of ourselves because the mentor has been instrumental, in part, to who we've become.

This a beautiful tribute to a Paul.

(And I'm searching for one of my mentor's--think I may have found him, and hoping I can contact him soon!)

Loree Huebner said...

Jayne: Losing a mentor is like losing a part of us. I was very lucky indeed to know Paul.

I hope you find yours! Let me know how it goes.

Thanks for popping in, Jayne!

Melissa K Norris said...

Thanks for sharing this Loree. I have a writing mentor and a spiritual mentor. I am fortunate to still have both of them, but know that it won't always be the case. I trust God will know when I can handle things without them.

I hope to someday be able to pass on the things they've taught me and mentor someone else. I think that's the highest honor I can give my menotrs.

Loree Huebner said...

Melissa: Mentors are so important. I've been a mentor at my work, and someday I hope I can be a writing mentor. I hope to pass down what I've learned on my journey.

So happy for you, girl!

Thanks for stopping by.

Angela Ackerman said...

I'm lucky in the sense that my mentor is my blog partner Becca. She has taught me so much and I will always be grateful to learn from her. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse