The Influence of a Writing Mentor

Mentor

One way a writer can become successful is by having a more established writer as a mentor. While writing groups can serve as a mentor, the right personal mentor will help improve your writing by giving you guidance each step of the way. Let me share an example of the influence a mentor.

In 1919 a young veteran returned from World War I. He moved to Chicago moving into a particular neighborhood for the purpose of being close to the author Sherwood Anderson.

Sherwood Anderson

The critical praise for Anderson and his book Winesburg, Ohio impressed a young, beginning writer. This hopeful writer had heard that Sherwood Anderson was willing to help aspiring writers. He worked to meet Anderson. The two men became close friends. They met almost every day to read newspapers, magazines, and novels. They dissected the writings they read.

Ernest Hemingway

The aspiring writer brought his own works for critique having Anderson help him improve his craft. Anderson went as far as introducing the want-to-be writer to his network of publishing contacts. The aspiring writer did okay with his first book The Sun Also Rises. The aspiring writer was Ernest Hemingway.

William Faulkner

Sherwood Anderson didn’t stop there. He moved to New Orléans where he met another aspiring writer. He took the young man through the same steps and paces of the craft. He became roommates with this young man. He even invested $300 in getting this writer’s first book Soldier’s Pay published. This young author was William Faulkner.

John Steinbeck

Anderson would later move to California and repeat the process with John Steinbeck. Thomas Wolfe and Erskine Caldwell were also mentored by Sherwood Anderson.

Ray Bradbury says Winesburg, Ohio was on his mind when he wrote The Martian Chronicles. Bradbury basically wrote Winesburg, Ohio placing it on the planet Mars.

Mark Twain

Arguably, only Mark Twain has had a greater influence in shaping modern American writing than Sherwood Anderson. Anderson didn’t do too badly, did he?

Nobel Prize for Literature and Pulitzer Prizes

William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck each won the Nobel Prize for Literature and there are multiple Pulitzer Prizes between them.

If you are serious about writing I urge you to find a mentor or join a writing group. The people in my writer’s and critique group keeps me encouraged and motivated.

Encourage your writer friends, keep reading and writing.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler


Photo Source: Public Domain

 

Be Encouraged

Today is Sunday March 17, 2013. 

One way a writer can become successful is by having a more established writer as a mentor. Writing groups can serve the function of mentor. Let me share an example of the influence a mentor. In 1919 a young veteran returned from World War I. He moved to Chicago moving into a particular neighborhood for the purpose of being close to the author Sherwood Anderson.

The young beginning writer was impressed by the critical praise for Anderson and his book Winesburg, Ohio. He had heard that Sherwood Anderson was willing to help aspiring writers. He worked to met Anderson. The two men became close friends. They met almost every day to read newspapers, magazines, and novels. They dissected the writings they read.

The aspiring writer brought his own works for critique having Anderson help him improve his craft. Anderson went as far as introducing the want-to-be writer to his network of publishing contacts. The aspiring writer did okay with his first book The Sun Also Rises. The aspiring writer was Ernest Hemingway.

Sherwood Anderson didn’t stop there. He moved to New Orleans where he met another aspiring writer. He took the young man through the same steps and paces of the craft. He actually shared an apartment with this young man. He even invested $300 in getting this writer’s first book Soldier’s Pay published. This young author was William Faulkner.

Anderson would later move to California and repeat the process with John Steinbeck. Thomas Wolfe and Erskine Caldwell were also mentored by Sherwood Anderson. Ray Bradbury says Winesburg, Ohio was on his mind when he wrote The Martin Chronicles. He basically wrote Winesburg, Ohio placing it on the planet Mars.

Only Mark Twain has had a greater influence in shaping modern American writing than Sherwood Anderson. Anderson didn’t do too badly, did he? William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck each won the Nobel Prize for Literature and there are multiple Pulitzer Prizes between them.

If you are serious about writing I encourage you to find a mentor or join a writing group. The encouragement of my writer’s group and critique group keep me motivated.

Encourage your friends, keep reading and write.
Jimmie A. Kepler

My Writer’s Group

Our writing group! Minus a couple of key members.
Our writing group! Minus a couple of key members.

One way a writer can improve his odds of traditional publication is having an established writer as a mentor. Writing groups can also encourage and mentor. Let me share an example of the influence a mentor.

In 1919 a young veteran returned from World War I. He moved to Chicago moving into a certain neighborhood for the purpose of being close to the author Sherwood Anderson.

The young beginning writer liked the critical praise for Anderson and his book Winesburg, Ohio. He had heard that Sherwood Anderson was willing to help aspiring writers. He worked to met Anderson. The two men became close friends. They met almost every day to read newspapers, magazines, and novels. They dissected the writings they read.

The aspiring writer brought his own works for critique having Anderson help him improve his craft. Anderson went as far as introducing the want-to-be writer to his network of publishing contacts. The aspiring writer did okay with his first book The Sun Also Rises. The aspiring writer was Ernest Hemingway.

Sherwood Anderson didn’t stop there. He moved to New Orleans where he met another aspiring writer. He took the young man through the same steps and paces of the craft. They shared an apartment. He even invested $300 in getting this writer’s first book Soldier’s Pay published. This young author was William Faulkner. Faulkner’s teacher was the encouragement of learning from how others crafted their work.

Anderson would later move to California and repeat the process with John Steinbeck. Thomas Wolfe and Erskine Caldwell were also mentored by Sherwood Anderson. Ray Bradbury says Winesburg, Ohio was on his mind when he wrote The Martin Chronicles. He basically wrote Winesburg, Ohio placing it on the planet Mars.

Only Mark Twain has had a greater influence in shaping modern American writing than Sherwood Anderson. Anderson didn’t do too badly, did he? William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck each won the Nobel Prize for Literature and there are multiple Pulitzer Prizes between them.

If you are serious about writing find a mentor or join a writing group. My writer’s group and critique group keep me motivated. My writer’s group and group’s member are the best thing that happened to me in 2012.

Meet the Poets: Bob Dylan – 2008 Pulitzer Prize: Special Awards and Citations

The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded Bob Dylan a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”

PERSONAL INFORMATION
Birth: May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, United States.
Occupation: Singer, musician.
Family: son of Abe Zimmerman and Beatrice Rutman; m. Sara Lownds (or Lowndes), Nov. 22, 1965 (div. June 19, 1977); children: Jakob, Jesse, Samuel, Anna, Maria; m. Carolyn Y. Dennis, June 4, 1986 (div. Oct. 1992); 1 child, Desiree Gabrielle.
Education: self-taught; student, U. Minn., 1960; Music Dept., Princeton U., 1970.
Avocations/Research/Interests: Achievements include devising and popularizing folk-rock.
Addresses: Office, Columbia Records, 550 Madison Ave, New York, NY, 10022-3211.

AWARDS
Named to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1988.
recipient Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy Awards, 1991.
Prince of Asturias Arts award, Prince of Asturias Found, 2007.

WORKS
Musician: (albums) Bob Dylan, 1962; The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1963; The Times They Are A-Changin’, 1964; Another Side of Bob Dylan, 1964; Bringing It All Back Home, 1965; Highway 61 Revisited, 1965; Blonde on Blonde, 1966; John Wesley Harding, 1967; Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, 1967; Nashville Skyline, 1969; Self Portrait, 1970; New Morning, 1970; Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, 1971; Dylan, 1973, Planet Waves, 1974; Blood on Tracks, 1975; Desire, 1976; Hard Rain, 1976; Street Legal, 1978; Masterpieces, 1978; Slow Train Coming, 1979 (Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Gotta Serve Somebody”, 1980); Bob Dylan At Budokan, 1979; Saved, 1980; Shot of Love, 1981; Infidels, 1983; Real Live, 1984; Empire Burlesque, 1985; Biograph, 1985; Knocked Out Loaded, 1986; Down In The Groove, 1988; Oh Mercy, 1989; Under the Red Sky, 1990; The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: (Rare and Unreleased 1961-1991), 1991; Good as I Been to You, 1992; World Gone Wrong, 1993 (Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album, 1994); Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 3, 1994; MTV Unplugged, 1995; Time Out of Mind, 1997 (Grammy Award for Album of Yr., 1998, Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, 1998; Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Cold Irons Bound”, 1998); The Best of Bob Dylan, 1997; The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The Royal Albert Hall Concert, 1998; Essential Bob Dylan, 2000; The Best of Bob Dylan, Vol. 2, 2000; The Very Best of Bob Dylan, 2000; Love and Theft, 2001 (Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, 2002); The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5, Live 1975; The Rolling Thunder Revue, 2002; The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6: Live 1964, 200;, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack, 2005, Live at the Gaslight 1962, 2005; Modern Times, 2006 (Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, 2007); musician: (with various artists) The Concert for Bangladesh, 1971 (Grammy Award for Album of Year, 1973); Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, 1993; musician: (with The Band) Before the Flood, 1974; The Basement Tapes, 1976; musician: (with Grateful Dead) Dylan and the Dead, 1988; musician: (with Traveling Wilburys) Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, 1988 (Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, 1990); Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, 1990; musician: (soundtracks) Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, 1973; The Last Waltz, 1976; Wonder Boys, 2000 (Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Things Have Changed”, 2001); Masked and Anonymous, 2003.

Composer: (songs) Like a Rolling Stone and over 500 more.
Dir., editor: (films) Eat the Document, 1972.
Appeared in: (documentaries) Don’t Look Back, 1967; No Direction Home, 2005
Actor: (films) Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, 1973; Hearts of Fire, 1987; actor, composer, dir., editor, writer (films) Renaldo and Clara, 1978; actor, composer, writer Masked and Anonymous, 2003.
Actor: (TV films) The Madhouse on Castle Street, 1963.
Author: Tarantula, 1971; Writings and Drawings, 1973; Tarantula: Poems, 1994; (book of sketches) Drawn Blank, 1994; (memoirs) Chronicles, Vol. 1, 2004 (Quills award-biography/memoir, 2005).

SOURCE CITATION
“Bob Dylan.” Marquis Who’s Who™, 2008.
http://www.pulitzer.org/biography/2008-Special-Awards-and-Citations

Meet the Poets: Maxine Kumin – Pulitzer Prize in Poetry 1973 and Poet Laureate of the United States of America 1981 -1982

Maxine Kumin (born June 6, 1925) is an American poet and author. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1981–1982. She received her BA and MA from Radcliffe College.

She has published numerous books of poetry, including Where I Live: New & Selected Poems 1990-2010 (W. W. Norton, 2010); Still to Mow (2009); Jack (2003); The Long Marriage (2003); Bringing Together (2003); Connecting the Dots (1996); Looking for Luck (1992), which received the Poets’ Prize; Nurture (1989); The Long Approach (1986); Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief (1982); House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate (1975); and Up Country: Poems of New England (1972), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1973.

She is also the author of a memoir, Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery (W. W. Norton, 2000); four novels; a collection of short stories; more than twenty children’s books; and five books of essays, most recently The Roots of Things: Essays (Northwestern University Press, 2009) and Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2000).

She has received the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern Poetry, an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Sarah Joseph Hale Award, the Levinson Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize from Poetry, and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, and the National Council on the Arts.

She has served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, and is a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in New Hampshire.

Source: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/94

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxine_Kumin

Meet the Poets: Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks – Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 1950 and Poet Laureate of the United States of America 1985

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 17, 1917 in Topeka Kansas. She was the older of two children born to Keziah and David Brooks. The same year of her birth she and her family moved to Chicago where she has resided her entire life.

Brooks’ mother discovered her gift for writing at the early age of seven. She promptly encouraged this talent by exposing Gwendolyn to various forms of literature. Her parents, however were very strict and she was not allowed to play with the kids in the neighborhood.

As a child she lacked the sass and brass of the other girls in her class and became very isolated. As a result, she made few friends while in school. When Brooks was at home in her room she often created a world of her own by reading and writing stories and poetry.

Due to her lack of social skills she became very shy and continued to be shy throughout her adult life. After graduating from high school she went on to Wilson Junior College and graduated in 1936. In 1939 she was married to Henry Blakely and they had two children, Henry junior and Nora Blakely. In 1945 Gwendolyn Brooks’ first book entitled A Street In Bronzeville was published. In 1949 Annie Allen was published and received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950, becoming the first African American to receive this prestigious award in poetry. In 1953 Brooks’ first novel is published Maud Martha. In 1963 she published Selected Poems and secured her first teaching job at Chicago’s Columbia College.

In 1967 at the Fisk University Writers Conference in Nashville, Brooks met the new black revolution. She came from South Dakota State College, which was all white, where she was received with love. Now she had arrived at an all black college where she was now coldly respected. After this trip Brooks says that she is no longer asleep she is now awake. After 1967 she became aware that other blacks feel that way and are not hesitant about saying it. She appeals to her people for understanding and is more conscious of them in her writing. In 1968 she published her next major collection of poetry, In the Mecca. The effect of her awakening is noticeable in her poetry. Brooks is less concerned with poetic form, and uses mostly free verse.

In 1968 she was named poet laureate for the state of Illinois and was also the first African American to receive an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 1976. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (commonly known as United States Poet Laureate) in 1985. Since then, Gwendolyn Brooks has gone on to receive over fifty honorary doctorates from numerous colleges and universities.

Brooks died of cancer at the age of 83 on December 3, 2000, at her home on Chicago’s South Side. She is buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois.

Source: http://www.uta.edu/english/tim/poetry/gb/Gwendolyn4.html
For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_Brooks

Meet the Poets: Phyllis McGinley – 1961 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

“The Velvet Hand

I call that parent rash and wild
Who’d reason with a six-year child,
Believing little twigs are bent
By calm, considered argument.

In bandying words with progeny,
There’s no percentage I can see,
And people who, imprudent, do so,
Will wonder how their troubles grew so.

Now underneath this tranquil roof
Where sounder theories have their proof,
Our life is sweet, our infants happy.
In quietude dwell Mammy and Pappy.

We’ve sworn a stern, parental vow
That argument we won’t allow.
Brooking no juvenile excess here,
We say a simply No or Yes, here,

And then, when childish wails begin
We don’t debate.
We just give in.”

–Phyllis McGinley

Phyllis McGinley (March 21, 1905 – February 22, 1978) was an American author of children’s books and poetry. She studied at the University of Southern California and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City where she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma, graduating in 1927, then moved to New York City. She wrote copy for an advertising agency, then taught at a junior high school in New Rochelle, New York for one year, until her career as a writer and poet took off.

Her poetry was in the style of light verse, specializing in humor and satiric tone. She embraced domesticity in the wake of second-wave feminism, wrote light verse in the wake of the rise of modern avant-garde and confessional poetry, and filled the gap between the housewife and feminist intellectual who rejected the domestic life. McGinley actually labeled herself a “housewife poet,” and unlike Anne Sexton who used the term to be ironic and self-deprecating, McGinley used it as an honorable and purposefully crafted identity. She wrote mainly for white, middle-class, educated women and her work was published prolifically in periodicals, including the New Yorker and Ladies’ Home Journal. In her poetry, McGinley humorously depicts a life that revolves around the children and routine of domesticity.

Though her work as largely faded into the annuls of history, McGinley was a hugely popular author in her time and she was the recipient of many literary prizes, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for her “Times Three” piece. In 1964 she was honored with the Laetare Medal by the University of Notre Dame (described as ‘An honor to a man or woman who has “enriched the heritage of humanity”‘). She also holds nearly a dozen honorary degrees – “including one from the stronghold of strictly masculine pride, Dartmouth College” (from the dust jacket of Sixpence in Her Shoe (copy 1964)). Time Magazine featured McGinley on the magazine’s cover on June 18, 1965.
She moved to Larchmont, New York in 1937 with her husband, Charles Hayden, and raised two daughters there, singing the praises of domesticity and small town suburbia for nearly 40 years. McGinley died in New York City in 1978.

Source and more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_McGinley and http://wellversedmom.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/day-6-of-national-poetry-month-the-velvet-hand-by-phyllis-mcginley/