As writers and readers, we devour the written word. We soak up the scenes, delve into the dialogue, and scrutinize the characters. And, we turn the pages (if we like the read, that is).
Our lives are like books, and each day is a new page, filled with emotion, sometimes conflict, and certainly crammed with characters, scenes, and conversation. Whether the chapter is filled with joy or with sorrow, we are the protagonists in our own story.
This month has been filled with new chapters in the lives of my husband and me. As we said goodbye to his father, one right next to his hospital bed, the other from 2,000 miles away, tears were shed and joys were remembered. His life, his story, contain pages with scenes of a solid marriage, years of education, work and travel, children playing and growing as well as grandchildren and even a great grandchild. And the pages still turn as his family continues their own story, enhanced by the man who impacted their lives so significantly.
We all have opportunity to impact lives, whether directly with our families or indirectly through our communities, including the community of readers that we as writers engage. As this post goes live, I am preparing to speak to several groups of students, from Kindergarten through 4th grade. That chapter of my life began more than seven years ago when my blind dog Sage and I visited classrooms and encouraged kids to be courageous and to persevere, inspiring them in their life’s journey through my blind dog’s life story. Today, it’s Mary and I visiting classrooms, showcasing the friendship, loyalty, and caring of pets, in particular, of a therapy animal, hoping to instill compassion and kindness in those youngsters. Standing alongside first Sage and now Mary, new pages of my own life story unfold as I grow not only as an author, but also a speaker.
Like a character in Snow White, I gaze into the mirror of my future with hopes and dreams of becoming a fulltime freelance writer and presenter. As I work toward that goal, I am turning the pages of my life’s book, pondering who I want to impact and how. It’s a scary yet thrilling adventure as I prepare query letters and seek publication with additional magazines, plan the next two books, and look for increased paid speaking opportunities. It’s not an easy journey to freelance, but then again, life itself is not easy. I just pray to live it as well – brave, kind, and loving – as my father-in-law and my own parents, life stories lived with courage, dignity, and love that have impacted their own children and beyond.
DEDICATED TO AND IN HONOR OF AND THANKSGIVING FOR
DAD AND MOM IRWIN
AND MOM AND DAD MANSFIELD.
Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, includin Sage’s Big Adventure, Sage Learns to Share, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to articles in Creation Illustrated and Our Town Casper magazine as well as the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers. Her future plans include creating newsletter and brochure content for businesses, writing more magazine articles, and authoring additional books. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.