|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.