10.21 Dispatches: Mentors!

I send out a newsletter every month with information about what I’m up to. It’s fun and short and I’d like to try and interest more people to join. For the next few months, I’m going to post what I wrote in the newsletter the week after it’s sent out. You can have a look and see if this is something you might want to appear in your inbox every month. Scroll to the bottom to sign up.

For as long as I can remember, I've always sought out mentors. I learn better by jumping in the deep end and getting my hands dirty. That was quite a mixed metaphor. I'm leaving it in. I've also been privileged to find people that were willing to give me a chance and pass on their knowledge. But also, if I don't toot my own horn too much, I'm a good mentee. I approach any mentorship purely from an educational perspective. I want to learn, which is much more important than just trying to impress someone so they'll open up their networks to you. My mentors have been profound learning experiences that often built into friendships. The most powerful type of mentor knows when to let you go, even when sometimes you don't feel ready.

A few weeks ago, a very special person and mentor of mine passed away. The first time I met him was in his class at the Humber School for Writers. I knew I had so much more to learn from him, and we started exchanging letters. Like through the mail. I strongly suggest writing people letters. I was able to go back through our correspondence and hear his voice again. He took me under his wing and taught me almost everything I know about writing. Then he let me go. We became friends, and every moment with him, no matter how small, was important. I'll miss him.

So, it was fitting that I wrote a tribute to him at our last Stories We Don't Tell of the season. I had prepared a story, actually worked on that story for a long time. Too long. I was happy with the story, but the content just made me so upset. When I heard of my friend passing away, I immediately knew that he would have wanted me to write. It was great to be able to share some of the profound ways that he touched my life.

After the story, a few people talked with me about people they had lost. One person came up to me in tears. We sat in the corner and talked it out. It made me feel grateful for this strange thing we do, this getting up in front of people and sharing stories. I've done this so many times before, why are certain times more impactful than others? Is it that the loss of my friend just happened, and even though I was sharing good stories about him, you could feel the vulnerability? No matter how I tried to hide or control it? How can we access this, learn to not be afraid of it?

Let's get all promotional and stuff. Lots of fun things below. Of course, there is the book, and you can get your very own copy of it. Like, brand new. You know that story I was talking about above? Guess what? It's been included as a bonus episode of Season Five of the Storytime Podcast. Listen to it through the links below, and even subscribe to the podcast if you're feeling especially naughty. Stories We Don't Tell might be finished for a while, but it's really because we have an extra special secret project we're working on to come out in time for our fall return. So, make sure to like all the social media things to keep updated on that.

Anyhoo, that's all for now. What a wonderful time to be alive!

-- Paul

Paul Dore