Short story in hand I called the newspaper. I'd witnessed a touching element of a tragic event in our community and asked the receptionist for instructions about how to submit it to our city tab's editor.
"They won't take it," she told me.
"How do you know?" I asked. "It's a pretty good story; the editor might like to print it."
"They hire writers for that. Sorry, you can't send it in," she insisted.
I persisted; she resisted. Finally she recommended that I submit it to the main sheet as a "Letter to the Editor," and I did, within minutes.
Weeks later Victoria Hecht, editor of the city tab I had originally attempted to contact, called. The main sheet had received my letter and thought that she might like to publish it, which she'd planned to do. That was good enough for me.
But Victoria continued. She complimented my writing and the fact that I'd seen a story in something that most would have overlooked. She asked about my background and experience as a writer. I filled her in on what fragmented experience I'd had and she asked if I'd consider writing for her.
I tried to reply with more professionalism than awe in my shakey voice as I danced around my family in the kitchen. "Yes, thank you!" I managed to say.
That job, and Victoria's mentorship along the way, changed my life. She provided me with an ongoing opportunity to interview intelligent and interesting people who were doing tremendous, positive things throughout our city and, sometimes, the world.
She had faith in the Newbie when I lacked faith in myself. She took care with critiques, much like a loving parent does with a child, generously offering genuine praise of my strong points while giving expert direction on points which needed work.
When I had anxiety about a short-fall she countered with a laugh and a "You're fine; don't be so hard on yourself."
She trusted my ability to handle correspondences from the occassional critical reader, and when someone e-mailed her with a compliment for me she seemed every bit excited to forward it as I would be to read it.
Victoria's kindness, encouragement, trust and direction have made working for her not only an absolute pleasure, but also a privilege. She expects good things from me and I aspire to deliver. Working for her reminds me of the importance of treating my family and others with the same life-affirming acceptance and wisdom.
The news I write for Victoria and the newspaper is all good news. How lucky am I? No crime; no chaos; no tragedy without a significant redeeming element. Writing article after article, week after week, has urgently furthered and solidified my innate and longtime notion that positivity should and can be highlighted daily and serves as an intricate model and machine in the delicate and complex nature of humanity.
Without these years of journalistic experience, under the direction of such an intelligent and authentically good person, ThankingOfYou.com could not have been born. Victoria, you told me that you'd struggled with the idea of approaching me when you received that first letter--wondering if I'd think it was strange--but that you decided to follow your intuition.
Having felt my life align on so many levels with the creation and mission of current endeavors I follow your example, I follow my intuition, every step along the way. And every step has led to another perfect fit or amazing realization. Truly, you are an essential part of one of the most valued forces in my life: Gratitude.
Thank you, thank you, thank you ;)
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