Sometimes, you find out that you’ve touched someone and made a difference, though you were scarcely aware of it at the time. Today, I received this kind note in the mail: a photocopy of a letter that was left with the course evaluations for my “Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget” class at Castle Rock Writers in November:
The note reads, in full:
I loved the examples – C.S. Lewis, “David + Goliath,” Odyssey,… You weave details succinctly and compellingly. Details rock! Other side ->
A scene that speaks volumes:
The class sat in rows, pens poised expectantly as the lecture began: “We are drawn,” the bespectacled speaker began, “to moments of–“
With a stiff, halting roll-step, a small, rotund figure appeared on the stage at his elbow. “I need a chair,” she rasped. Tufts of badly-dyed hair stuck up from her head; she clutched an overstuffed bag to her chest.
The speaker pivoted from audience to her. Gently, he reached for her elbow. “How about this chair here?” He spoke respectfully as he guided her across the chasm of space to the other side of the lectern.
“Thank you,” she whispered as she settled in.
Pivoting back to the audience, he continued. “–moments of strength that reveal character.”
Thank you from an observer of character in action.
I am touched.
And thankful to whoever left me this note. I don’t know if the note-writer was the woman looking for a seat, or another student. I’m just thankful for the note, and thankful that I was able to help.
Sometimes, the small things you do — or the things that look small at the time — matter. Being there for people matters. Telling the right story at the right moment, or being there with a hand when needed. Those are the moments that matter.
And sometimes, you find out they mattered.
I am touched.
P.S. I will be teaching variations on this class at at Writers on the Rock in February and at AnomalyCon in March. And the class is also available as a book. I hope the class continues to inspire and empower emerging writers – and maybe I will see one or two of you there.