I am pleased and privileged to introduce you to one of my new favorite authors, Shirley Hershey Showalter.
I encourage you to read her memoir Blush: a Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World, to gain insight into the Mennonite culture and the values it instills in its members–
- and a commitment to living well by living simply.
Shirley writes about her life as a farm girl among the “plain” people of Lancaster County and her yearning for the “fancy” world. She went on to become the president of Goshen College and a foundation executive at The Fetzer Institute. Now she lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she is a writer, speaker, blogger, consultant, and in my opinion, a truly remarkable “beacon of kindness.”
If you seek to emulate generosity and empathy in your life and through your writing, adopt Shirley Hershey Showalter as one of your author-mentors.
Here’s how to learn from an author-mentor (an author who writes in your chosen genre):
- Read her book, and then re-read it while you’re writing your own.
- Take notes: notice what you like and why; pay attention to structure; look at how she handles time and transitions; study her use of sensory details; consider how she uses language and imagery.
- Follow her on her social networks (Shirley is on Twitter (@shirleyhs); also on Facebook.
- Subscribe to her blog. (click here for Shirley’s blog). You’ll widen your community of writer-pals if you participate in the conversation going on via the comments. You’ll find me there because I enjoy, and benefit from, engaging with everyone there, especially Shirley.
- Whether you’re writing memoir or fiction, sign up for Shirley’s weekly Magical Memoir Moments right now by clicking here. You’ll get photos and writing prompts designed to bring out the storyteller in you.
- I’m working on a novel these days. I follow Shirley’s weekly prompts by making my characters write their memoirs–I get into their heads and write in my their voices. And I’m loving it.
And after you’ve learned from Shirley Hershey Showalter how to more effectively write your story, don’t neglect to thank her for so generously sharing her knowledge–write and tell her that you appreciate her, and tell others about her book, her blog, and her email prompts.
Thank you, Shirley Hershey Showalter, you shine!
Who has been beacon of light for you?