I believe that my grandfather lives on within me. Our bond transcends the normal grandfather/granddaughter bond because we are forever tied by a love and passion for writing. He had graduated from Brown and then received his master’s degree from Santa Clara studying English and writing and worked for many years as a technical writer at Lockheed. My grandfather was thrilled when I decided to study English and writing at Sonoma State and we soon began to talk as writer-to-writer trading things we’d learned about writing techniques and writing styles.
Unfortunately it was short lived because when I was nineteen years old my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia and had to be put in a nursing care facility. Before he got sick he told me one of his biggest regrets in life was his lack of confidence in himself as a writer and not even trying to get his work published. It was the last normal conversation I remember having with him and I’ll always remember his words of wisdom; “Believe in your writing but more importantly believe in yourself.” It was then that I made a promise to him that I would never give up and one day I would be the published writer that he never was.
Even though his mind continued to deteriorate, he always remembered to ask me what I was working on and if I was published yet. When I left for a year abroad in Italy in August of 2004 I had yet to be published and sadly in April of 2005 just three weeks before I was due home my grandfather succumbed to pneumonia and passed away. When I returned home I came across a binder in his room with some old writing exercises he had done. I was astounded to see not only how philosophical and profound his writing was but the parallels between our writing styles, something we had both been acutely unaware of. It saddens me that he will never know how moving it was for me to be able to read and relate to his writing and how he has inspired me to become a better writer.
Since his death I was recently published in the 2007 Project Censored edition, which is now in bookstores. While I wish he were physically here to see it I like to think that somewhere out there he knows I kept my promise to him and that he’s proud of me. In recent months I’ve been accepted to several masters programs in order to further my career as a print journalist. When people ask me about my grandfather I tell them I’ve inherited more than his physical attributes. In fact I believe it was his passion, his talent, his love for writing, and the living example he provided that has made me more than I ever thought I could be. And that is not only an important part of who I am but the belief that my grandfather lives on within me.
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