A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could. – Unknown
January is National Mentoring Month. Though it is something I recently heard of, it’s been an event now for 10 years. Mentors play an important role in every career, but since I write about writing, I thought I’d mention some literary mentors I read about on flavorwire.com.
Sherwood Anderson encouraged William Faulkner to concentrate on novels rather than poetry and to write about the area where he was raised in Mississippi. Faulkner’s novel Soldier’s Pay was, “…eventually published primarily due to Anderson advocacy, and, as a wry thank you, Faulkner later dedicated his 1931 novel Sanctuary to his mentor for “services rendered.”
Willa Cather was mentored by Sarah Orne Jewett. She persuaded Cather to concentrate on fiction rather than journalism and urged her to not hide behind male narrators when portraying female romantic feelings. “Although Cather struggled to have the kind of transparency in her work that Jewett delighted in, she dedicated her breakthrough 1913 novel O! Pioneers to Jewett’s memory."
Henry James wrote to Edith Wharton, “I applaud, I mean I value, I egg you on in, your study of the American life that surrounds you. Use to the full your ironic and satiric gifts; they form a most valuable…beneficent engine.”
Joyce Carol Oates was Jonathan Safran Foer’s, author of Everything is Illuminated, instructor. He “…stated that Oates’ investment in his work has spurred him to want to become a writing instructor himself. ‘I went into her class with no ambition to become a writer, and I left it wanting to be a writer because of the things she showed me,’ he remarked. ‘Ever since, I always thought it would be nice to do that for someone else.’”
For more details and more literary mentors, you can read the entire article by Kirthana Ramisetti here.
My mentors over the years have been teachers, family, friends and members of the writing groups I belong to. Are you a mentor to another writer? Do you have a mentor who has encouraged you to complete a particular project or go down a certain path?
January 25 is Thank Your Mentor Day™. Mentees are encouraged to take the time to honor an important mentor in their life by posting an online tribute or sending a note. You can find out more here.
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope to see you again next week.
Tags: mentor, National Mentoring Month, literary mentors, Faulkner, Cather, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Joyce Oates, Safran Foer