If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis…

If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis when I was a teenager, I….

  1. I would have gravitated toward art much, much earlier than I did.
    (My junior high art teacher rocked. Totally. Utterly. Rocked. High school teachers, not so much. About the time I soured on the high school teachers, my oldest brother — also artistically talented — abandoned his own plans to pursue art. “Too much competition.” I took his decision as gospel. Didn’t even try. No adults consulted. No 2nd opinions. Spent at least 10 years wandering in artistic wilderness before coming back to it.)
  2. I might have aimed higher with a truer focus than I did.
    (I turned out okay, but I initially chose paths because I should do such-n-such, and not because I felt full, unbridled permission to explore, pursue and cultivate my passions.)
  3. I’d’ve learned how to ask for help a lot sooner in my life
    (I’m one of those who tended to figure stuff out by myself, in keeping with hearing the phrase you oughtta know better than that!all my life. There’s a problem inherent to that saying though– what if the person does not know better? Will she ever learn how to learn to know better?)
  4. A profound sense of possibility that I can barely articulate, even now.
    (A smart girl in a big family, with an alcoholic parent. Lots of supervisory adult attention focused elsewhere. People were too, too busy, and I had a “don’t make waves” approach. I can pinpoint moments of adult focus on me because they stand out as exceptions to the rule. The appointment with the high school counselor to talk over my college plans. When I mumbled that I’d go to the community college and then maybe transfer to a 4-year school, he said, “You got the grades to go straight to a 4-year school, cookie!” [I do? really?] The immediate examples before me were not pushing me to aim high. That one conversation with that one high school counselor — this, in a well-to-do area, with schools funded by pre-Prop13 property tax revenues — was a safety net-style intervention, that said “aim higher.” I wonder what would’ve happened had I aimed higher earlier?)

I’m tagging four people to play along: Petrea Burchard, Madamoiselle Gramophone, Kelly Russell, Margaret Finnigan –and if you caught on that these are all writers in the greater Pasadena area, you’d be right.

PlayWriteGirl I’m doing this because WriteGirl is coming to the Pasadena Playhouse this Sunday, May 3, in a benefit performance.

I do not know what kind of individual attention kids get in high schools. I do know that the LA high school graduation rate is around 50%. With that as the status quo, and with cuts to school funding, what are the odds that a random high schooler is able to get the same kind of re-orienting nudge to aim higher that I got? That’s why I volunteer with WriteGirl — because I want to make the odds better for a girl.

What do to:
Start your post with the question, “If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis when I was a teenager, I….” and write a short list of 4 answers of what that alternate reality might’ve looked like (extra explanation optional). Tag 4 people. And, if you’d be so kind, throw in a link to the Pasadena Playhouse’s PlayWriteGirl event.

If I didn’t tag you, and you got inspired by this, Please feel free to up and do it anyway!

4 responses to “If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis…”

  1. Margaret

    I’m on it. Give me time.

  2. Katrina

    I still regret the twelve years I spent NOT following my lifelong passion for performing (acting, singing, dancing). When I finally did return to that passion, it took me three years just to overcome all the mental, emotional, and physical blocks that had accumulated over more than a decade … and three more years to hit my stride as an actor. I am finally the talented, skillful actor that I always wanted to be … but I still wish I hadn’t spent 12 years NOT doing what I love.

  3. mademoiselle gramophone

    Here teach, I’m done with my assignment.

    (That is interesting, Katrina!)

  4. mademoiselle gramophone