Inspired and Liberated – The Giving Keys

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August 08, 2016

Inspired and Liberated

My "Inspire" necklace was given to me by Cary Richy, my younger teacher colleague, when I retired from 36 years of teaching. She knew I would be pursuing a second masters degree after I retired. I chose Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, to earn a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. I am 21 hours into my degree a year after my retirement. I wore my necklace daily as I began my studies. I had many things to learn--college technology, the expectations of a new program. My studies were challenging--"Inspire" supported me.

Creative writing requires inspiration, bravery, seeing beauty. Joanne Luongo, my Ashland classmate during second semester, helped me get past a "monster memory" that was holding me back from powerful writing of which I was capable. She helped me face it, made me realize everyone has one, and acknowledging the monster allows one not to be defined by it. I have never felt so inspired--or liberated.

The teacher who taught Joanne is --Steven Harvey. He credits John Irving, author of A Prayer for Owen Meany, with the "monster memory" concept. But as a terrific teacher, he taught Joanne, and she taught me. What a way to pay it forward! 

But without question, first my friend, Cary, then Joanne inspired me. So thank you. I hope this shows that you never know what you can do to make the world a better place. 

-Katharine 

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Through the purchase of your Pay It Forward products, The Giving Keys has generated hours of work for people transitioning out of homelessness.