17 February 2014
Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?
This is a difficult challenge, not because I’ve never had a mentor, but because I’ve had so many. This scene will describe one of the earliest ones, and by all accounts, one of the least recognised and most important.
The yelling started again. But before the yelling came the silence. That silence could fill a world of books, and I always knew what would come next.
Coward. I ran away like a little school girl. Around the corner, plop, into the town library. I stepped through the door as if through a vortex of goodness, I shook off the dirt and the woes and leapt into books.
The librarian was sitting by the table, sipping a dainty cup of black coffee and smoking a Benson & Hedges No 1. His eyes smiled at me as I bounced through the room and he offered me some biscuits. After exchanging pleasantries (for him so normal, for me, so different) he left me to the corner of my library where I would sit until closing time and fall into worlds of danger and mystery and adventure.
It was the start of everything else you see, my love of words, books, adventure. It inspired in me the need to travel, but also the ability to treat people kindly, to see outside myself, to think of others as I would think of my storybook characters, as people with depth and flaws and cracks in their souls.
The librarian was the first person who looked at me and didn’t see a dirty little 5-year-old with no prospects but to marry rich (that is, if I stayed pretty).
My father once banned me from going to the library. He said it would interfere with my school work. My rebellion was to read books and invent things.
For more writing prompts, see the ebook, 365 days of writing prompts