My Own Memorial Day

The end of May is a time of reflection for me. Not only do I take a moment to thank the veterans and those still serving our country, I think about the people in my life – both still with us and gone – who propelled me on my literary journey.

I lost both my grandmother and one of my best friends at the end of May. Thankfully not the same year, but just a few years apart and recent enough that it still feels fresh. Both of these women recognized in me the desire to tell a story. They saw the joy I felt when I found just the right word to complete just the right sentence. Without them, I wouldn’t be here, with my friends in the bloggernet sharing the joys of hitting a word count goal and feeling each others pain when a query comes back rejected.

But, this isn’t a Debbie Downer post. Quite the opposite. I believe that people come into our lives at just the moment we need them. My grandmother got the early shift with my parents, buying me whatever Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume book I asked for, and, when I was older, encouraging me to take creative writing courses to sharpen my skills. Sutton came in the middle, asking me “why not now” when I said one day I’ll write a book. My wonderful writer’s group – the Greater Fort Worth Writers Group – has no problem kicking my butt when they know I can do better. And, in a pay-it-forward mentality, I hope that I come into people’s lives at a moment they need me.

One person I wish I could meet again is a writer I met at a New Year’s Eve party some years ago – back when Phoenix was a nugget of an idea and before the first word was banged out on the computer. The moment was nearly forgotten until I found a journal in a bookshelf at work a few weeks ago and spent a moment thumbing through it. The first entry it fell to was when I wrote about that night. I journaled that I shared the idea with her, she thought it sounded great and encouraged me to write it.  Soon after that, I started the first draft.

So as we wind down Memorial Day weekend, and have given thanks to our service men and women, spend a moment thanking those in your life that cheered you onto your creative path. I wish I could go back to every English teacher or journalism professor that took the time to make me a better writer. And, I wish I could find this woman, someone who had achieved the dream I’ve had in my heart since I was a little girl and took just a few moments to say “you can do this.” While she may not remember me as well, twice she came into my life to cheer me on, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Who would you say thank you to if you could?

About Kimberly Packard

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. Kimberly received a degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and has worked in public relations and communications for nearly 20 years. When she isn’t writing, she can be found rollerblading, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in North Texas with her husband Colby, Oliver the cat and a 75-pound lap dog named Charlie. Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors.
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4 Responses to My Own Memorial Day

  1. Frank Bishop says:

    My in-laws for making some awesome bbq today.

  2. taureanw says:

    Whether we realize it or not everything we write (or do for that matter) is inspired by the people we had in our lives & the experiences we shared with them. Great post!

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