I spoke to more than a thousand kids a day at the Youngstown State University English Festival for three days at the end of March. I saw them in “smaller” groups throughout the day, then gave a final presentation to everyone before they went home. It was a life-changing experience to be in a room with a thousand kids who were completely stoked about books and reading and writing. I adored all of them… and their teachers who worked very hard to prepare them for the experience.
I signed books for about three hours each day. Several times the organizers had to cut the line short so that I could give my next presentation. A girl named Faith was crushed when she made it to the front of the line (after waiting an hour) only to be told that she would have to wait until after the presentation. (I had already snuck several kids past the organizers and was pushing the limit in a big way.) The look on her face slayed me, so I wrote her name on my arm and swore a holy oath that as soon as I was done talking, I would find her and sign her books.
Which I did.
Faith was patient and mature and responded beautifully to a situation that she was not happy with. I will always remember her. Having the word “Faith” written on my arm at the end of the three-day festival summarized perfectly my relationship to my work and to my readers. (The photo above was taken shortly after I signed Faith’s book.)
“Art glows with faith even in its weakest parts. At every moment, writing is an act of self-confidence – the sheerest, most determined, most stubborn self-belief. You CAN have faith and doubt at the same time; the most insecure writer on the planet has faith that shines just as bright as her doubt, and she deserves props for that. It might be hidden deep, she might not feel it and you might not see it, but it’s in there, or she wouldn’t be able to write.”
Today’s prompt: What is it about your writing that you want to give up on? What causes you to think of quitting? Who would be happier if you stopped writing? Who would be crushed? How will your life change if you quit? Make a promise to that scared part of yourself that is having doubts. Write down that promise and put it where you can see it daily.
Scribble… scribble… scribble…
4 Replies to “Faith – WFMAD Day 26”
I love the wisdom you have been sharing each day this month. It seems to come at just the right time.
I’ve stopped doing the daily prompts because the habit of two weeks of doing them was enough to nudge me into the habit of working on my new novel in a feverish way.
That is wonderful, Donna!! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me!!
Thank you for this post (and all the other August ones, too!). 2012 has found me struggling with doubts about my writing, and today’s post reinforces what I’ve realized–that I am a writer and I need to keep writing.
Another thing that helped me get to this point was the YSU English Festival this year. Thank you for your generosity in sharing with the students who were there–and all of us adults, too!
My daughter’s name is Faith. It makes it very difficult to yell her name in anger. 🙂