Her face shone with years’ worth of creative expression pouring from it. If you didn’t know her, you’d know she was a writer. Composition book bulging with words stuffed onto its pages. Stray pens falling out of every pocket. An artful scarf picked up from O, the places she’s gone.
But I knew she was a writer.
She taught me how to write.
Not literally how to write as my kindergarten teacher did, copying the straight lines of ‘As’ and curly ones of ‘Qs’, but how to write as an artist. She taught me what that desperate feeling that you must write, not merely that you like to write, meant. She taught me that your final product isn’t your final product.
Not only did she teach, she remembered. She remembered my pieces. Over afternoon tea she reminded me of pieces I’d long sense forgotten about. She remembered that one short story about the fisherman who drowned off the Scottish coast. She inquired. She inquired about my life, about what I was currently working on, about why I wasn’t writing more. But most importantly she urged. She urged me to keep writing. “Just write,” she said, “Just write – anything!” She urged me to get in touch with other writers who struggle post-graduation to find creative space in the 8-5 workaday world.
just write – anything at all.
And if you find yourself needing a fellow writing friend to help you push past the hurly burly and get down to the craft that you were built to do, I need that friend too.