Monday, November 22, 2010

In Memory

Thanks for your well wishes today. It did indeed snow. Getting to work this morning wasn't so bad, but getting home was nothing short of a nightmare. Days like this are certainly much better when you have no place to be. The wind is absolutely insane right now and the temperature has dropped down into the teens. I'm trying not to even think about driving tomorrow morning. 

On a different note, I just read this evening that one of my very favorite writing professors from the University of Washington, Tacoma lost his battle with cancer this last week. Dr Phil Heldrich was an amazing professor and a funny, witty author. I was fortunate enough to take two classes with him in my final two quarters before graduation. He was one of the kindest and most encouraging teachers I have ever had and I was profoundly affected by him. He discovered that he had cancer just before the beginning my last quarter. He let us know as a class, but despite beginning treatment that first week, he missed only one class the whole quarter. Some days he struggled just to remain standing for his entire lecture, but he never cut them short or failed to give his class everything he had. In his classes, for the first time in my life, I found the courage to let others read the things I wrote. I finally realized the discipline that must be applied to writing and the importance of making time to nourish the things you love.

I tend to be rather shy and I never felt quite able to fully express to Dr. Heldrich the impact he had on me. I am so very sad to hear of his passing. I started blogging just a little while before I started taking classes with him. Although I never gave him the my blog address, I remember how pleased and encouraging he was when I told him I was a blogger. I remember him talking about how people often think that being a writer must be easy because so many of us have stories rattling around in our heads. He would say that a million stories locked away in your head are worthless until you apply the discipline and work to actually put them on paper. He could bring out the writer in everyone and although it may not be a natural talent for all, he taught us that we all have story to tell.

Thank you so much for everything you taught me Dr Heldrich. Your classes changed my life and I am forever grateful.


TheBlakkDuchess said...

It's difficult to lose someone who has had such an impact, especially if you weren't close in your personal lives. I'm glad he was able to encourage you & help you grow as a writer.

Dive safely today, if you must drive at all. The wind is still wicked icy & strong

Fala Cedar said...

He sounds like he was an amazing man, and a wonderful teacher! It's so sad that the world has lost such a soul. You're very lucky to have been able to take his classes, a teacher of that calibre is a treasure, indeed.

Candles by Nature said...

I'm so sorry, I know how hard it is to lose someone. I've found that the best way to try and move on is to remind yourself that you're keeping a part of them with you in the ways they've shaped the person you'll become. I wish you the best, and be safe in that crazy weather!

Lisa said...

Lovely tribute. I wish all teachers could know how much they impact their students--even those that don't know how to tell them.