Today I volunteered at Summerwood (a residential home for the elderly) with the YES Advisory Board. We were filling bags for homeless teens in the metro area. So as we filed in, we were each assigned an elderly person to fill bags with and talk with afterward. I was assigned Glen.
I have never had a problem with talking, nor do I dislike the elderly. But for some reason I was flustered, and I had no idea what to talk about with Glen. Thankfully, he carried the conversation through most of the time we filled the bags. As we sat down to talk, I slightly panicked because I had no idea what to bring up to someone over 60 years older than me that I had never met before. Naturally, he asked me what grade I was in and what subjects I was interested. But why is this worth blogging about? He asked me what I wanted to do after high school. I briefly talked about college and told him I want to be a writer. Something in his face changed and for a moment I braced myself for a harsh response. Instead, Glen sat up a little bit straighter, “I am a writer.”
Truthfully, I have no idea how much time passed before they had to leave, but by the end of the conversation neither of us wanted it to be over. Glen announced to the entire room that he wanted to stay and talk more. He said he wanted to take me with him and adopt me. The whole room chuckled as he told me I could be his granddaughter and he could continue to encourage me in my writing. If I ever come back, he said, I must bring my writing and he will tear it to shreds and teach me how to write. Glen told me about why I should start out as a journalist to learn the basics about writing, and I asked questions on how his writing career unfolded. It was fascinating. He told me that as much as I might want to write the next Great Novel, I can’t skip the steps. I have to learn everything in between. Before we departed, he reminded me I had to write everyday about what I saw, and when I got home I had to write about meeting him.
As the YES Advisory Board meeting began, all I could think is this was truly an act of serendipity. I will never forget this day or meeting Glen. It was as if something was telling me that it is ok to be a writer. No matter where I go, no matter who I meet, no matter what I become, I will always know what I am.
I am a writer.