Posted: September 29, 2013 by AStrauss in pleskoisms
It started with a simple invitation from Les that led to the rebirth of my voice as a fiction writer. He worked one-on-one with me, respecting my elementary teacher working life/schedule/etc. My last email from him came Sunday, September 15,2013, but I’m sharing this comment from last January because it’s all about ACTION and I need to take action again. Action without Les has felt scary, but he would tell me to “bring it on!”

“The beginning is the best part, and when he first meets Clara. When the action starts to unfold, the writing gets real rough. Like I said, it’s hard to do action. You want enough details so we can see what’s happening, but not so much that the details or their arrangement cause confusion. You want to block the scenes [as if on a stage] so we know the general layout. It’s like checking for continuity in a movie. If you have Clara by the fire, then she can’t also be at the table unless the table is close enough to the fire. If the scene is from Henry’s POV, and he hasn’t been told Tom’s name, then you can’t use Tom’s name. Henry is still working really well as a character! We can discuss if you like, phone or in person or back and forth e-mail.”

Now there isn’t a way to discuss on phone or in person. The pain of this last line reverberates. The last time I saw Les we took a short walk together. How I wish I could go back to that walk and make it go on and on. I’ve still got so much to learn. It’s time to focus on the fact that I’m lucky (as many of us are) to have the bundle of memories, treasured check marks, penciled comments, and archived Les emails. Time to shift focus on to what I’ve got instead of what’s been lost. A mentor is someone who recognizes you, sees your potential with absolute clarity, and somehow prompts you to shed fear and become even more you than ever before. That was Les for me and for so many others. Thank you to those who started this Pleskoism site- it’s a “swell” idea. LES was generosity personified. He was still giving of himself up until the day before he left us. It feels good to think of being generous with one another, sharing what Les we have!

After our memorial for Les the wind picked up with a strange ferocity. I stood at the beach, sand hitting the back of my bare legs and thought of how Les said there are two types of stories, it’s either: “someone goes on a trip or somebody comes to town.” Now Les is on the trip and we’re still in town.


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