“One day I’m going to write a story about us,” the girl across from me exclaimed. Her young eyes sparkled and for a moment I began to catch a glimpse of the dreams held deep inside.
I put my spoon and yogurt aside and looked at her for a moment. “Yeah? What would it be about?”
“It would be about a girl and her big bruin and they have lunch in the library.”
“Yeah? Do they go on adventures?” I asked, barely able to contain a smile.
Blue eyes looked at me quizzically for a minute as though pondering how I could ask such a question. “No.”
“Oh. Do they do anything exciting?”
She paused and considered for a moment. “Maybe one thing. I also want to write a story about a good witch who goes to the beach. At the beach she falls in love with a bad wizard!”
“Come on, finish up your lunch and we can go play Zombie Island for recess.”
She smiled at me and dug into her food. I just sat there shaking my head. In all my life I never pictured someone mentioning me in a story. And yet that Thursday afternoon I encountered someone who was somehow inspired by me.
Our writing class has been talking all about influence this week. And indeed each of us has a variety of different elements of influence in our lives. However, I have come to realize through this little girl that I am an influence on others. When I was young a variety of people changed my life through their inspiration. I dreamed of writing thanks to the people around me. Now, I can do the same back.
I can easily picture myself at third grade, just starting to engage in writing. I remember my parents, teachers, and friends giving me encouragement to keep going. I needed those people and might never have come so far without their guidance. And now, I can return the favor.
I keep thinking back to her smiling little face. I keep wondering if maybe, just maybe, she has the potential to become a writer. She is imaginative and I have hopes for her. And if I can encourage her to go for her dreams, then I have done my job.
We are influences everyday to the people around us. Whether to children or peers, others are looking at us. As a writer you have the ability to reach an audience. You have the ability to speak into someone else’s life. I encourage you to do so. Don’t just have an influence. Be an influence.