Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Foot Tapping and Silent Inspiration

The Followship in the Barrow Downs
Sometimes it's not the words someone says to you that are inspirational but their silent approval or their tapping foot.

In high school, 10th grade to be exact, I had an English teacher, Ms. E., who allowed me to sign all my essays, Joe Lunievicz, Dwarven Lord of Moria. Okay, okay. I had a bit of a Lord of the Rings thing going on at the time. I was good at disappearing into fantasy novels. I don't remember why I signed my name the first time that way, but Ms. E. never made a comment about it. I did well in her class writing essays about James Fenimore Cooper and Kurt Vonnegut (now there's an interesting duo to catch a young man's imagination - So it goes) but she never said a thing about my name and title. There was something about this collusion that made me smile.

I remember telling my friend, Larry, about this. He didn't believe me so I showed him my last paper. I'd gotten an A. He shook his head and laughed.

Two years later, in 12th grade Mr. L. was my teacher for an elective course on Science Fiction writing. He read aloud to us from The Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham. While he read his foot tapped out a soft counter beat to his words. I had not been read to in class since 4th grade. I loved it. Mr. L. loved the sound of the words he read, the way they wove a story and carried us all to another time and place where plants ate humans for breakfast. Truthfully, I'm not sure if he cared that we listened or not. He loved the sound of the words. He told me I should be a writer later, after seeing my short stories, but his tapping foot and total immersion provided inspiration for a lifetime.

Don't just look for words to inspire. Look for whole individuals whose lives speak to you of love of what they do, whose silence, whose foot tapping, whose collusion in making dreams come alive, tell you their message.
- Joe

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