Monday, October 17, 2011


Everyone has been inspired, at some time, for some thing.  Some of us are inspired to be better people because of, or in spite of, others in our lives. Sometimes we are inspired to pursue a particular career.  For instance, I was inspired to work with children (which included changing majors from Drama (big surprise there) to Child Development by a wonderful woman named Cecilia Alvarado Kuster.  She was the Director of the Children's Center at Santa Barbara City College, and I took a class from her to fulfill a requirement. I fell in love with the center and the material.
At one point, I was inspired to be a food server. I would practice when I cleared the table by stacking numerous plates in my arms when I was seven.  Little did I know at that tender young age that THAT particular dream would come true when I was 21.  (No, really.  I LOVED waiting tables.  Still do.  Would do it for fun if I could.  Don't be so surprised, I have proven how sick I am many times before)

I was inspired to lie when faced with grounding.  I was inspired to move far away my second year of college to get away from a controlling boyfriend.  Many things can inspire us.

I recently fell back in love with writing.  Actually, I have always loved writing.  I just didn't ever do it.  I had a teacher in high school-Jane Juska.  I took Creative Writing from her for two years.  She was inspiring.  She was cool, open, honest.  All those things good teachers never seemed to be, yet she managed it.  I wrote like my life depended on it (sometimes my sanity did).  I wrote about everything-love, as only a 17-year old can-dreams, hopes, family.  I made up stories.  I wrote poems.  I poured my heart and soul into notebooks, journals and word processors (we didn't have a home computer then, just some black floppy thingies we saved work to).
Jane-Ms. Juska-was amazing.  She would bring in articles that were meant to inspire us. We would read a strange news clipping about not wearing blue to the jail when visiting, and ask us to use it as inspiration.  Each student would write, write, write. Each person would come up with something different.  For some reason, that writing class was the Great Equalizer.  People that would normally ignore others in the hall were friends.  Rockers sat by Dorks, Athletes by Regular People. 
I was so close to Jane by graduation (I could finally call her Jane!) that I invited her to my graduation party.  SHE SHOWED.  She was late, though.  Those of you younger than 35 may not remember, but photo processing was a thing they did in a stinky lab, and getting it done in less than an hour was a major feat.  Well, Jane was late because she had taken my photo as I walked with my classmates, and stopped by the 1-hour photo studio to get it developed, in order to give it to me THAT DAY. I remember being hurt she hadn't showed, then elated she showed, then flabbergasted she had gone to such lengths for me. ME!

 That's me, walking with Bill Spain-he was voted Most Likely To Fall Into A Manhole.  Maybe I should look for him on Facebook to make sure he's still okay.

Right before I got married, I talked to Jane-she couldn't make my wedding, but I got to introduce her to my betrothed.  I'm sure she wasn't surprised that he was NOT my High School boyfriend, the one I thought was THE ONE.  Had I known then what I know now...

We lost touch for a while.  I moved away,t hen moved back. We caught up on 10 years or so of info.  Then, lost track again.  I thought of her one day, Googled her.  There she was.  In Print.  She had been published-Twice!

This one is about her life as a divorced woman.  her trials and tribulations throughout her adult life, her quest to finally get laid.  Really.  Reading it was like sitting with her, curled up with a glass of wine, chatting like peers.

She had another:

This one extends her late-life adventures, including a long-term one with a much younger man. Once again, I was captivated.  I bought them both, full price, in hardcover.

Then, I heard that her first book was being made into a play.  I scrambled onto the computer, bought tickets, booked a hotel in San Francisco, and told my husband we were sneaking away for a night.
it was amazing-the play, the people, the actors, the scenes. And Jane was there. After it was over, I caught her eye, and we connected. She introduced me to a friend of hers as the "person that taught her more about high school than an entire teaching career".  My husband beamed behind me, knowing how pivotal that comment was.  I'm sure Jane would be embarrassed by my accolades and adoration.  But, c'est la vie.

Since then, we got together with another classmate for lunch. I got to hear about what happened after the second book. We stil maintain a haphazard email relationship.

When I got my blog up and running and had a substantial number of posts, I sent her a link.
She responded within a couple days with, "you are writing some delightful stuff. I always knew you could." :::beam:::

I know she is JUST A NORMAL HUMAN.  She has had her tough times, made her mistakes. Her books showed me a side of her I was unaware of.  But still, she inspired me.  She taught me a thing or two, she was there for me when I needed her.

smartphone.  Luckily, there's an app for that. I think that is one of the things that makes my posts good.  That, and "write what you know".  I write about what I know-or at least what I think I know.
I always wanted to write something and be published. I had planned on making it a children's book. I have plenty of false starts.  One day, that dream may become a reality, and that first page? It will be dedicated to her.

Until then, this post is for you, Jane.

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