I am alone in my home office when I hear the words, “Contact the teacher.” An inner voice, like someone is in my head. I take a slow, deep breath.
To my left, a wall of windows faces a small lake. Loud duck squawks and birdsong filter in through an open window.
In an instant, a mental image appears of a writing class I visited in Marina Del Rey, California. When was that? Twenty-five years ago? More?
I recall the teacher. Attractive. Around ten years older than I was. A friend invited me to attend, and I was moved by the stories I heard. Students wrote from real life experiences in present tense, as if they were speaking into a microphone, narrating their lives as they lived them. It was personal. Intimate. Engaging. And the closest I’ve ever come to taking a writing class.
What was the teacher’s name? I remember he wrote a book called, Writing from Within. I’ll google it.
Found him. His name is Bernard Selling. I am looking at his website now. He’s written quite a few books since then. Think I’ll email him.
Dear Bernard, I sat in on your writing class years ago. I am an author myself now, and I recall how your classes touched me. Blessings, Kira
Hi Kira, Always happy to have had a positive impact. I’ve written three new books (two books, one workbook) updates of Writing From Within. For an experienced writer like you, I suggest Writing from Deeper Within. Thanks for the hello. Bernard”
I dial my friend Jacquelina.
“What’s up?” she asks.
“I was working alone when I distinctly heard the words, ‘Contact the teacher.’”
“You mean like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams? ‘If you build it they will come.’”
“Yes. There wasn’t any sound, but I heard the words distinctly.”
“Do you know who the teacher is?”
“Bernard Selling, a writing teacher I met decades ago when I lived in Venice.”
“I have been wanting to focus more on my writing,” she says.
A day passes. I am sitting at my computer when I hear, “You’ve got to teach what he teaches!” This time the words are emphatic.
Dear Bernard, Have you ever trained others to teach your technique? My friend Jacquelina and I are both interested. Kira
Hi Kira, Thank you for your interest in teaching my writing method. I would be happy to mentor you and your friend through the process. Just let me know when you are ready to begin. Bernard
One month passes. A number of girlfriends express a desire to get more serious about their writing. With little effort, I organize a writing class with Bernard and women in three different time zones. We plan to meet every other Sunday by phone. My initial thought is to set it up so we can video chat, but no one wants to be on camera. I set up a conference call instead.
Fast-forward six years. The writing class continues to meet every two weeks. Students come and go. Jacquelina and I stay with it. With Bernard’s masterful approach to authentic writing, our writing and our confidence are transformed.
I feel privileged to manage this class. Whenever we have a new student, I work with them first to introduce them to Writing from Within. It’s like planting a seed; then watering it and watching it grow.
Oh, here is an email from Bernard.
Hi Kira and Jacquelina! You have each expressed an interest in teaching my Writing from Within method of writing. The significant thing from my point of view is that my work has a chance to live on. You could teach and eventually train others to teach. Bernard
Is Bernard offering to pass the torch? That’s humbling. We can teach individually or we can teach together; we can give classes or workshops or webinars; we can teach in the states or overseas; we can train other teachers. So many possibilities!
The phone rings. I know its Jacquelina.
“Did you get the email from Bernard?” I ask.
“That is why I am calling,” she says.
I hear the smile in her voice and smile back.
© Kira Rosner
*This story first appeared in Fresh Start Moments: True Stories to Ignite Passion & Purpose Compiled & Written by by Bob Danzig