Today, on my mother’s birthday, I wish to share how influential she has been to me as a storyteller. Ever since I was a little girl, I tuned into her talent for spinning a tale, sharing an anecdote, and captivating her listeners with heartfelt and humorous narratives. Her stories stick with you like a favorite song you need to hear over and over again.
Her life has been blessed with a variety of experiences that she is more than willing to share with those interested. She is busy, involved, witty, and approachable, so she has a lot to talk about. Her stories touch and include audiences of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Her plots grow out of the seeds of her actions, observations, and conversations which continue to dot her active, golden years.
My mother, a master of the oral storytelling tradition, is not a writer, but is a vibrant speaker. Her knack for painting pictures with words encouraged me to use my voice as both speaker and writer; I am a high school English teacher with a passion for storytelling. I read, write, listen to, and tell stories, and I require my students to do the same.
I got more serious about my writing five years ago and composed a memoir of my life with my beloved father who is deceased. Aside from writing many non-fiction pieces: personal narratives, essays, and reviews, I wrote one piece of fiction that is being published by The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
It is a novella about a a pencil sharpener, of all things, and my mother inspired my development of the protagonist and plot. Most of the story is fiction, but it is based off of my mother and what she did on her birthday, exactly four years ago. Here is how I recapped the situation then:
Happy birthday to my mother Mildred today! She continues to be witty, courageous, outrageous, youthful, and beautiful. She performed quite a stunt this evening when she visited her old Monaca home which she sold over three years ago!
Her mission was to ask the “new” owner if he still had the old heavy duty metal pencil sharpener that my father used to sharpen the tools of his artwork. I recently told her I regretted not dismounting that from the basement closet where it eternally hung. Tonight, she knocked on our old Washington Avenue door, reintroduced herself to John, the buyer/homeowner, and inquired about the piece of nostalgia, the sharpener I wished for my own classroom. John graciously unscrewed it from the cellar closet and gave it to her.
Wow! I’m not sentimental about “things,” but I truly can’t wait to get to polish dull pencils with that old powerhouse of a device. As a teacher, I know the value of having a strong writing tool, and although we put iPads into every student and teacher’s hands at my high school this year, I still embrace the reliable, old school pencil/paper method.
My mother continues to be as bold and beautiful on this birthday as on the few others she’s had. I’m excited and thankful that she retrieved such a mechanically symbolic tool that my father’s hands turned so often.
I’m thrilled we get to continue to exalt my mother in this world. A little touch of heaven poured into her hands full of #2 pencil shavings tonight. Each spin and point will keep my father’s Memory Eternal. Blessings and memories abound around precious birthday candles. May God grant her Many Years!
Her retrieval of this treasure is the entry point of The Pencil Sharpener. This piece is in the final stages of edits and will be available for purchase as an eBook when complete. This will be my first published work, and I dedicate it to my mother, an amazing inspiration for storytelling.
Happy birthday, Mother! Have a day you dreamed of! xoxo