It was just another Friday afternoon when I checked my emails. Nothing about the day gave any hint of extraordinary. I had begun my weekend wind down and was thinking about squeezing my ambitious writing plans into the limited time I had available. Most writers still have day jobs, me included. We cram ‘normal’ into space we’d prefer to use for writing and dream that one day we’ll be able to unshackle ourselves from being beholden to ‘the man’. But this Friday was not that day; this Friday was about planning and sorting and organising in anticipation of my carved out two-hour window on Saturday. I checked my email and my world lit up…
A quick back track – about 18 months ago I entered a short story competition, I didn’t win or get placed but my short story did make the anthology, and for that I was grateful.
OK, back to Friday. The email was from the chair of the short story competition. He wanted me to know he’d felt that my story was by far the best both then and now, and he wanted me to see the comments he’d made at the time which had not been forwarded –
A superb and sensitive piece of writing. I loved the gentle way in which the story unfolded. By far my chosen best entry. Such a caring piece of well-observed storytelling. A delightful, fabulous story. Full of sensitive humour; warm, insightful descriptions and heart-warming, painful truths. I cried. A winner!
Please write again Nicole… more and more…
I was blown away, literally blown away. I have never ever received such an email. My flushed cheeks reddened further, and I felt a little overwhelmed. Here was someone who did not know me, who had nothing to gain by contacting me, yet his email’s effects are still positively reverberating. I do not write to be validated, my words order better on paper than in my head, and through them, I can explore diamond truths hidden just beneath the surface. Most of the time, I do not know why I write; I just know that I must. But writing is a lonely pursuit and feelings of inadequacy, of being a fraud are never far away. Receiving this feedback was bloody marvelous! Whenever things get covered in mire or my work gets rejected for the umpteenth time, I will look at this email – hell, I might even frame it!
I have shared my experience to encourage you. You may never know the affect of your words, but know that kindness is a gift to pay forward, and it matters! If you have read something that has touched you, tell the author – no matter how long it’s been. Your words will always have an impact and kindness and encouragement are what we all need.