R.I.P., Ms. Beverly
By: Peggy Willms
(7 min read)
It is such a ride when you are a writer. Especially if you honor the process and let your passion and thoughts guide you versus writing through sheer force to drive an end product. And if you let go of the mindset there is a “perfect” way to express your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or behaviors.
Many times, I sit down to start my blogs with my mind’s eye on a subject, my ruby slippers on, and I am headed down the yellow-brick road. I am off to see the Wizard, becoz, becoz, becoz… But it doesn’t take long before my mind is venturing off on a plane, train, or automobile to another subject and completely forgetting where I was headed. Ninety-five percent of the time, I loop back around, but it can be a helluva ride. Do I get frustrated? No. I honor the process. I no longer fight the GPS of my creativity. Gone are the days when I am told of the subject I must write about and how to do it.
About 50% of the time, I end up with a re-title. The lesson, “Peggy, don’t start with a title.” (Duh) “Start with a thought, and flow. Let your fingers do the walking and talking. You know this by now.” Yet, I started today’s blog with this title and subtitle, Green Ink, Inc. ~ a 21-year-old dream comes true. As you can see, by looking above, that is NOT the title.
I flew through a few words, but they jammed into a clogged-up brain funnel. I hit the save button and went to sit by the water.
I felt the lightest resonance energy brush my arm. At first, I see nothing, but then a tiny white feather gently lands beside me. Within a second, I realized something major had just happened to me in the last hour. MAJOR. Dreams come true even if you forget them. Another thought pops in; a John Cusack movie called Serendipity. The tagline of the film explains the essence of this blog.
“When it feels like magic, it is destiny; when destiny has a sense of humor, it is serendipity.” I just experienced magic…some destiny…and a splash of serendipity.
And here came another bout with kaleidoscope imagery which I also spoke about in last week’s blog, Ms. Independence. This time, decades of colorful imagery focused on one subject…different aspects of my writing, and the imagery bounced around in a psychedelic rain dance.
As I sat down to write my weekly blog for you with my typical seafoam-colored Yeti coffee mug filled with extra bold coffee and a splash of Café Latte Premier protein drink (Yes, you read that correctly. I put protein drinks in my coffee.), I grabbed a pile of old papers to join me, a pile of documents I stumbled upon last month while packing to move. I looked at the very first piece. It was a blank piece of letterhead I had created in 2001 with the words Green Ink, Inc. at the top with my AOL email address. Good old – America Online. I giggled out loud. The edges are yellowing. The last gem in the pile was a poem I wrote back in October of that same year. It was written in the back of a notebook to Ms. Beverly, my English Professor. It was written in green ink on the last four pages of a green notebook. So many “greens.” My mug, my letterhead, and the old notebook. Thoughts of green to this day make me think of Ms. Beverly. My finds this morning sparked a two-hour writing frenzy.
Back in 2000, I decided to go to college. Colorado Christian University. I was 35. I gave up many scholarships after high school to follow the small-paper town “dream,” get married, and get to hell out of town. College can wait, I thought, and it did – for 17 years.
I have always loved English. I fancied creative writing. Painting with words…paint paint paint. I also loved grammar. I tend to be an overly rambunctious compound-complex sentence fan. I adore punctuation. I tend to overuse dashes and semicolons. I can nail a dozen adverbs in a single bound. We could play indirect and direct pronouns all day. I can rearrange a story flow like walking in the park on a blissful Sunday stroll with a pungent scent of jasmine filling my soul. Words flow easily. Imagery flows easily. Painting with words is a passion.
I took 15 English credits during my freshman year. Simply put – Heaven. And Green Ink, Inc. was born. At the time, I was writing essays, and poetry, illustrating and writing children’s books, and even wrote a romance novel. My first book, The Boy with the Broken Nose, was written in 2001. I sent it off to publishers the old fashion way. Well, back then – the only way. I put the physical, laminated, self-illustrated book in a brightly colored green or red envelope and sent it insured and certified every single time. Those peeps were going to feel the efforts of my sweat and tears.
Each time, I headed home with my post-office receipt in hand and a bit more positivity than the last trip. Until I wasn’t. I waited and waited and waited—denial after denial after denial arrived. My confidence level was stabbed more deeply with every envelope opening. The cycle continued for months. Ms. Beverly repeatedly checked in with me before every class. She taught all but one of my English classes. She made me promise to continue writing and never give up.
She was 70 years old and still teaching. We had a special bond. She said I looked like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge and always told me I sparked like a diamond. “You have a spark, Miss Peggy.” She re-sparked my belief in God and a higher power. My sons and I even went to church with her a few times. In a blog I wrote, Oh, the Places You’ll Go, I also mention Ms. Beverly giving my youngest son the namesake Dr. Seuss book. Go check it out.
Ms. Beverly ALWAYS carried a green pen. She continuously chanted – I mean chanted to the whole class over and over, “I use everything green when I write. It reminds me of money. Making money and being financially independent is not bad as long as you do good things with it.” After all, I was attending a Christian University, so I took her word for it. “Money wasn’t a bad thing.” It was okay to work hard and want to be financially independent.
She said to dream big. Picture it. See it. After months of writing and submitting my children’s book over and over, I decided to create letterhead. I was in manifesting overload. “I am a publishing company.” I started using green pens, notebooks, and suede journals and named “my publishing company,” Green Ink, Inc. This shit was coming true if I had to force it down my own throat.
You won’t find discover the whole story at the end of the yellow brick road today. There is, however, after this morning’s writing journey, a story for my next book. I have just finished a multi-author book with 40 authors contributing their true, personal stories. And after typing for a few hours, this blog is a snippet of my more-in depth version of my story about Ms. Beverly. The more extended version continues with the rest of the papers I found and how they intertwine with the relationship I have had with Ms. Beverly even though I haven’t seen her since 2003, and she has since passed. That fantastic woman has continued to trickle droplets on me since we met, and I only recently realized it.
What I hope you have experienced with me this morning is that my writing journey proves serendipity happens and that people enter our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. She knew I would be exactly where I am today. Writing.
You will have to wait for the full story when my second multi-author book is published this December. It is called Win the Wellness W.A.R. (We Are Responsible), with more true stories of the heart, spirit, mind, and body. I still feel that writing whether blogs or books, as a solo author are essential, and I am doing that with the nearly 20 books I have in progress. However, writing with others on a single project has also been life-changing.
What I will tell you is that Ms. Beverly never gave up on me. The spark never stopped zapping. She made me promise to continue sharing my words. It is quite humorous as I now recall our fascination with green. I recently wrote another blog for BizCatalyst 360, an international online magazine called Dear Money, a few weeks ago. And I quoted her. “Green reminds me of money. Making money and being financially independent is not bad as long as you do good things with it.”
Back in the day, after months of writing and submitting my 2001 children’s book over and over, I gave up. I mostly gave up writing other than professional content until last fall when I found that same children’s book again. It “sparked” my urge to write again. The Body with the Broken Nose will be published this year.
“I am writing, Ms. Beverly. I am not using feather pens or green ink, but I am writing. I know that was your energy and a brushing feather against me this morning. I know you are telling me to keep the spark going and guess what? I won’t give up. I know you cannot place a grade on my paper with your favorite green pen, but I know you are proud of me.”
R.I.P., Ms. Beverly.
All Things Wellness, LLC
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