Today I am giving thanks for a friend of mine, Sheila Bender, who was also my teacher many years ago when I was a freshman in college. I remember taking her class and being introduced to poetry in a way I hadn't before--she made it so fun and exciting. Nothing like the poetry classes I had in high school.
Her class changed me for the better, it gave me a glimpse of poetic life, but still not sure what I was doing and with life continuing on, I lost my way a bit, went hiking into the corporate world for about 5 years, while she continued her passion for writing.
Fast-forward ten years--I've quit my corporate job & returned to a writing life. Somewhere along the writer's path, I bump into Sheila at a local reading, I reintroduce myself and thank her for her inspiration she gave me as a young writer. We hug, she is gracious and giving and just as I remember her.
Life continues on. I continue with my own writing and more and more, I hear about Sheila in the writing community. We are on similar, but unique paths until our lives come together when her close friend and my mentor, Paula Jones Gardiner, passes away in 2008 and Sheila & I along with many wonderful donors, work together to create the Paula Jones Gardiner Poetry Prize for Floating Bridge Press.
For me, I definitely turn to poetry in a time of grief and Sheila has used her gift as a writer and poet to help us all. So today, I give thanks to Sheila, her words, and her book that can help us all during difficult times. Here's a description--