Make another martini, tell another story

May 18, 2012

Wednesday’s martinis-and-mentors party was a blast, and went just the way I had hoped it would, with tasty barbecue prepared by our host, Jason Roberts, perfect martinis, great conversation among the 30 friends and guests, and stories from our visiting star, Michael Ruhlman, and others.

Michael was in town for a celebration of the life and memoirs of his mentor, the writer Reynolds Price. Holding a stack of letters that Reynolds had written to him, Michael read one four-page letter that was filled with intricate phrases and simple, powerful advice. I hope Michael finds a way to share his correspondence with Reynolds with the world — it’s sure to be an instructive and loving look into mentorship, friendship, writing.

We then had stories about mentors from Jason (college professor), David Thomas (editors), Stephen Jenkins (college professor), Rose Hoban (grad school professor) and Dean McCord (Dean Smith). Jeff Polish, who usually is impresario of The Monti, recounted his experience prepping Elizabeth Edwards for her Monti story (my blog post about my 5 minutes with Edwards is here).

When we were finished, Michael wrapped up with this: “We all have someone who made a difference in our lives. Tell them about it, while they are alive.”

Once, after I’d published my father’s Peace Corps memoir, dad sent me a message that said, “At my funeral, all you need to do is stand up and say, ‘I told him what he meant to me when he was alive.’”

Yesterday, my friend Beck Tench let me know this:

And here’s what Michael had to say about the party:

Anton Zuiker

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