I wrote this column as part of the (virtual) Gloria Shields workshop in 2021. I was given the assignment to write about “a defining moment” while visiting my terminally ill grandpa in Florida. I didn’t need to look far for inspiration, and mostly wrote the piece to cope with the grief I was experiencing. My piece was so raw and personal, that I hadn’t even considered sharing it with others. However it had been well-received by my classmates at Gloria Shields so when Mr. Winter asked to share it on our news site, I agreed. A few months later I was at a performance theater rehearsal when a friend approached me backstage. Unprompted, she said “By the way, I really enjoyed your story about your grandfather. It was really moving and so relatable. I lost my grandpa recently too, so I really appreciated what you wrote.” In that moment, I truly learned the effect my words can have on others. Writing this piece taught me to hone in on my personal voice as an author to tell my own story, rather than just the stories of others. I truly understood how powerful writing – simply writing – can be. Re-reading the piece, I of course notice sentences I don’t love, but that was the raw state it was written in. And that was how it was meant to be. And really, I believe that is at least partially why it was so moving.

Recognitions: Second place – column SIPA Best Writing Competition (2022); Second place – personal column, ILPC (2022); Honorable mention – opinion story, NSPA Clips and Clicks (fall 2021)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay In Touch.