I am setting aside our journey through writing and the process for one post so I can discuss the importance of the writing workshop. More to the point, I want to acknowledge the writing family that exists within those workshops.
It was five years ago this month that a friend of mine invited me to the writing workshop she attended and enjoyed. I was familiar with the workshop process and had been nervously fidgeting about with the idea of getting my manuscript, The Book of Cain, published. It felt like a good idea, so I went.
As workshops go, it was very inviting. A good workshop should be a community of writers who provide constructive input and nourishment for the creative process, but this was more. This felt like a family -- the good kind. The supportive kind. The family you like to be around. And the matriarch of this family was Edith Jones Ivie.
Edith was a kind soul, gentle in voice but incredibly wise in her advice. With multiple degrees, decades as a teacher, and years of travel and experience as her resources, she put them to positive use. Her advice always struck a chord, her questions always making me think more about my subject. My writing grew from her input. But there was something even more that moved me.
Aside from all of her education credentials, Edith was also a published author. A couple of years before I started attending, WinePress Publishers printed her first book, Through the Eyes of Joanna. This book, a work of Christian historical fiction, was meticulously researched to carry forth the story of Joanna beyond the Book of Luke. She spent several years doing all the prep work to make her story come to life, which was an incredible task in itself.
And one more thing: She started all of this when she was eighty. Eighty.
If I ever had doubts in my mind about if I could be a writer, if it was too late in my development to shift gears and write, if being 45 meant I missed my chance, Edith eliminated all doubt merely with her existence. She had started a new chapter in her life when most people consider the last chapter.
During my time in the writing workshop (which I still attend to this day), Edith helped me in many ways, even going out of her way to give my manuscript a personal read-through and critique. I am sure she helped many people in this way, since that's what families do, but I was forever thankful. When The Book of Cain was published, I placed her and the workshop in the acknowledgements, though her contribution to me as a writer goes well beyond what words can say.
Edith passed away Friday morning, quietly and peacefully. Her death was unexpected, but the sadness of such a sudden loss is mixed with so many other things. I know the many students she educated will carry that knowledge forth and make the world a better place. Her words in print will always exist for generations to learn from. Her advice to me will show in everything I write from this point forth. And our family of writers is better for having her to head up those meetings.
A family is never the same after losing someone so important, but it is always better for having known them.
Thank you for everything, Edith Jones Ivie.
Our writing family mourns at this time. Thank you for honoring Edith.ReplyDelete
Your point of it's never too late to begin writing or to choose to publish is one excellent takeaway from Edith's life.
Thanks. It's the least I could do for her.Delete
I didn't get to know Edith very well, however there was a piece she wrote in the last book which prompted an idea for a piece I started, about Faith. One of two pieces I started for this book, and are still unfinished, and probably more on topic than the three that were put in Matters of Faith.ReplyDelete
Edith always had a smile and a light that shone from within. That was hard to miss.
I like to think that she will continue to show up in everyone's writingDelete