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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: April 10, 2019      Views: 83

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300 Word Essay
"My Writing Mentor, Mary Lou" by HealingMuse

Today is National Encourage a Young Writer Day.  I began to reminisce about this dynamic of my life and I feel it only appropriate to give a shout out to a long-departed friend who was my writing mentor from a very young age.

As a young child of seven or eight, I enjoyed all the typical kid games of playing tag, going to the pool, making statues with static body art, all those things, but nothing topped days when I was invited to go to work with Mary Lou!

Mary Lou was a semi-retired newspaper editor in the small town where I grew up.  Her publication was a small, weekly newspaper for the agricultural community in the surrounding area and was quite popular with that demographic.

My time with Mary Lou was precious and some of my fondest memories are of accompanying her to work weekly to write, edit, and lay out the copy for the typesetters.  Back in the day, we did things “the old-fashioned way,” as the Smith-Barney ads used to say, with scissors and tape.

We would begin our day each week by visiting the local Cooperative Extension Service to collect whatever information or articles they had ready for publication, then we would visit the American Red Cross office to collect their contributions.  Next would be the American Cancer Society to pick up advertisements for our copy.

Returning to the office, Mary Lou would allow me, on occasion, to write small pieces, which would always require her expert editing and embellishment, of course, but she always encouraged me to spread my wings and learn new techniques.  I would also assist in the layout design for the paper, which I enjoyed immensely.  It was like a puzzle to try to find the best fit for all the ads and stories for the typesetter's print.

Our reward for a job well done was to lunch together at a small snack shop near the office while rehashing our day’s work, which was a real treat!

Often, in the evenings, Mary Lou and I would walk her Airedale Terrier, Rex, around the neighborhood, chatting about many things, but mostly about our writing and lay-out projects.  Again, those were very special times and I learned a great deal from my mentor.

I was very fortunate to have had Mary Lou as a mentor and am grateful to her for her patience and support!



Author Notes
Hi All,

Thanks for taking the time to read and review this piece. I hope you enjoy!

I've composed this as a companion piece to my just-released poem, Passion's Flame, also intended to encourage mentorship of young authors.

It is National Encourage a Young Author Day today, so it seems mentorship in the profession is a worthwhile topic. :-)
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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