It’s In the Cards

I have a client who’s a gifted poet and someday, perhaps he’ll also be a lyricist.  I love meeting with him as I assist him…clearing one high hurdle after another.  I suspect my client/friend was a philosopher, a deep thinker, a teacher in some other life.  I admire him because he’s not yet ready to forego his deepest dreams and he has the stamina and drive – for now – to work a ‘day job’ while also exploring powerful needs to express himself. 

One day, I’ll ask him if I can write about his journey more specifically, but for today, I cloak details in order to provide privacy.  When we spoke recently, he asked where my admiration for prose comes from, wondered what I’ve written or done to develop the capacity to encourage and motivate.  It’s easy, I told him.  I love words, I love writers.  I love dreamers…especially those who have the capacity to create, evoke emotions, tease memories forward. 

He knows I’ve written a bit – mostly academic writing – but he was driving toward something else.  Where does your creative spark come from?  Who nurtured it for you?

Oh…such a question.  I’m cautious when a client does the ‘turn the tables’ routine, but occasionally, a little sharing of self helps to deepen a connection, foster greater growth.  So, I disclosed a bit.  I shared that my fifth-grade teacher, Miss Lenz once told me something transformative and life affirming – in a breezy, offhand way.  Well, I should clarify – it was offhand for her…but I’m still carrying the good feeling with me, decades later…side note – go teachers! 😊

Walking through the classroom, placing our graded papers on our desks, Miss Lenz paused when she got to me, smiled and said, “You see and feel things others don’t.”  At first I thought it was a bad thing and she made me nervous. We’d done an assignment about our heroes and rather than write about one person, I wrote about three and how they were intertwined.  The heroine?  My sister Lisa but I also wrote about her best friends – disabled wonders James and Marta – and how they stuck together, helping each other, despite their physical and mental disabilities – and how their friendships encouraged me to be a better sister to Lisa.

I skipped past the grade (a B+ because of grammatical errors!) and went straight to the comments, where Miss Lenz offered encouragement.  Up until then, I’d often heard ‘you’re different’ in a zero-sum way – nothing good there – but Miss Lenz’s feedback?  You’re different and it’s special.  Over the years, I’ve reflected on her input, her generous observation that it’s okay to see…and feel…and be me.

I shared the story of Miss Lenz and her creative encouragement – to use my ‘voice’- as I responded to my client and he smiled, nodded. I think he felt a connection as I talked about the oddball fifth grader that I was. 

Later that day when I wrapped up my notes about our meaningful meeting, I felt a compulsion to resurrect a poem that I wrote – on a dare – in college.  I took a poetry class – which I mostly despised.  Not because of the professor but the snooty students.  I was there for the credit only…meeting my gen ed requirements but the pompous and arrogant classmates made me ill. 

Just like Miss Lenz, though, the professor saw ***something*** in me, my writing, which resulted in him challenging me to write a fun piece about a card game…ultimately published in a college anthology.  My poem was the only one that made the cut.  The arrogant ones?  Nope.  I was grateful then…and surprised…but over the years, I realized that his encouragement coupled with the early ‘it’s okay to be different’ messages from Miss Lenz helped to solidify my love of creative types…especially those who tinker with words…create worlds…tell stories…share from their heart. 

The poem?  I still smile when I read it, captured for eternity in a dusty volume on my bookshelf: 

Precision reigned as all were sweetly stacked

Queen with commoner, King with Jack.

With sinister simplicity the digits sliced the pile

Spewing forth the fragments of a Kingdom gone awry.

Relocation is rarely welcome.

Bemused visages sight unseen; personalities not yet sought

Spun together shiftily –

Scrutinized from above.

Salty palms of moisture; calisthenics are part of the plan.

Flexed and fondled, picked-plucked and tugged

In preparation for alignment


Victors reap the virtues of her Lady’s fickle favors

As inferiors fade into obscurity, escaping to somber solitude.

From an unvanquished corner, a spoiling voice inquired:

“Nouns, verbs or adjectives, old boy, which do you prefer?”

My client?  His adventure is unfolding, and I’m privileged to be at his side…with admiration and the opportunity to reflect on my own journey.  Life is good!

Vicki ❤

Join us for more fun…inspiration and stories from the heart…at The Heart of the Matter! 🤍

Photo by jalil shams on

33 responses to “It’s In the Cards”

  1. Oh, I love this, Vicki! That poem is just fantastic! 😙👌 I had similar teachers kindle my creative flame. My senior English teacher, Dr. Rockwell, made a comment in front of the class and on my paper about Crime and Punishment, and then Frankenstein. I was shy and embarrassed, and didn’t realize it was a good thing until I was chosen for my graduating class’ English award. A year later, Professor Baliani, my college English professor made similar comments about my ability to make connections others hadn’t. The paper my 18-year-old self wrote for him intertwining Joseph Campbell, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, and Carl Jung is still one of my proudest accomplishments… he was a true champion for my creative spirit. Thanks for such a feel-good piece this morning, Vicki! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Erin! I’d love to read that Campbell-Plato-Jung paper! I bet it’s fantastic! I love that you received such powerful encouragement— and look at you now! Inspiring others with your wisdom and supportive insight…in so many ways. Xo to you! ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll see if I can dig it up! I think I have the hard copy somewhere, and hopefully the digital copy backed up. The powerful encouragement is really something else! I try to navigate life looking for opportunities to serve that roles for others with the hope to inspire someone else the way I was… it was truly like the flipping of a switch from “I like to write” to “I am a writer.” Love it! Hugs to you, Vicki!! ❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I love this connection-making…and you’re right (write? LOL?!) about the subtle but oh-so meaningful shift involved in claiming the identity of “writer”. You are, my friend, you are! ❤️🥰❤️

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Kudos to teachers who have such a wondrous and lasting impression. It does make teaching one of the most noble professions, no?

      I love that “You see and feel things others don’t.” That is so powerful! It compliments George Scialabba’s “Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun”, and I believe is a high DOUBLE compliment. Well deserved!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. EW! You did it again! A perfectly wonderful comment….thank you so much…along with a terrific quote! I’ll need to look up George S. You are a marvel….happy Monday, my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s easy to compliment those who so richly deserve it 🥰 Idk much about Scialabba, the reason I came across him was because I heard “Creativity is intelligence having fun” and was so taken by it that I wanted to know what its origin was, it was Scialabba!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Love it! You are my never-ending resource of “good stuff”! Hugs to you! 🥰


  2. Thank you, Victoria, for honouring us by sharing about your client (so glad that’s he’s being brave and following his dream!), Miss Lenz, and also for sharing your wonderful poem.

    I fully agree with Miss Lenz: “You’re different and it’s special.” There’s a power that comes through what you share. 🙏🏻🧡

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear Art! I appreciate you for reading and your lovely comment! Yes…Miss Lenz was something special. A teacher who made all the difference! ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome, dear Victoria. It’s always a pleasure to read what you write. I’m drawn to your content very naturally, and I’m happy that’s the case.
        Just so you know: You’re making a positive difference, too! Please keep us informated (as much as possible) about that client.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Will do! And thank you for all of your positivity and encouragement, Art! 🙂❤️🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You’re welcome, Victoria! And thank you for yours! 🙏🏻🤗

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely, Vicki! So thankful Miss Lenz recognized that you are special, as indeed you are. And that you’re passing that on to so many of us. And your poem was just delightful!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. xo – thank you, Kendra! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t it great that your teacher then prof saw your potential and nurtured it within you? Those are the mentors that can make a person feel confident. You were fortunate. The poem is a delight.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Aw…thank you, Ally. It’s fun to have our very own time capsules of writing…sometimes scary and less fun, TBT! 🤣And yes — I was fortunate to have terrific teachers, mentors. One wonders what life would be like if I hadn’t had folks in my corner at the “just right” times. Grateful! xo! ❤❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, what a wonderful post that’s left me with shivers – about being encouraged and being encouragers. And your client’s question about the creative spark has me digging in to ponder it too.

    How lucky we are when someone sees something in us. And how often that precedes us seeing it in ourselves. Such a treasure (and a responsibility and an honor) to be walking along this path with wonderful humans that help us move forward – like you are doing with your client.

    Love the poem – it’s fun and sparkling, just like you!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Fun and sparkling? 😘I’ll take it! Thank you, Wynne…you beautifully summarized my “why”. Hugs to you for reading and for your fab “fill-me-up” comment! ❤️🥰❤️


  6. Oh so many of us could have used Ms Lenz back then! How much “different” would things be if we were acknowledged as different but good?
    We also are beneficiaries of her and of your daring, not so snooty professor as they brought us you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goodness — thank you, Michael! Yes — different = good! That’s a powerful message that many youngsters…and adults…would do well to hear on repeat, I think. Thanks for that and for your kind comment…and cheers to not-so-snooty professors! 🤣😊🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “You see and feel things others don’t.” I love that line. When I read your post, it jumped off the page. I have a couple of stories like that too. I can even relate to the fear or apprehension that it meant a bad thing. But, oh no, it’s a wonderful thing. Thank goodness for the Miss Lenz’s and Professors who stoke those flames. Like you, I think I love creative, writerly types because they tend to not be arrogant. They tend to encourage and cheer on each other, because they know how challenging it can be to get to the end goal. I know for me, I’ve blogged this long because I thrive off that encouragement. It sustains me. And yes, I need send some praise your way Vicki. Love the choice of imagery in poem . . . Queen with commoner, King with Jack . . . Flexed and fondled, picked-plucked and tugged . . . Victors reap the virtues of her Lady’s fickle favors . . . A fun little poem. I see why it was chosen! 😎😎😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! And thank you, Brian! I agree…the cheering one another on is a big motivator…compelled to encourage because we’ve received it and we know it’s magical…but only if we share, pass it forward. An endless loop! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a fun poem Vicki! I might just add that encouragement from a trusted and sincere adult in any arena of life can often make or break a person in ways no one can imagine. That little nudge, whether it be in words or actions is so powerful and affirming. You were so fortunate to have a few such people cross into your world and help you to know that you could shine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point, Deb…not just teachers…kind, thoughtful, giving folks, PERIOD. Yes, yes.😊 Thank you for that!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Awesome! What a great compliment from Miss Lentz! I had to laugh when I read about your experience in the poetry class. I’ve had similar encounters with wanna-be poets who need to get over themselves 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes…glad you connected with that ‘vibe’. Oy! And yes – cheers to good-hearted people – teachers most of all – who may not know how much their words matter. xo! 😘😎😘

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great story Vicki. Will you share it with the gentleman in question? Miss Lenz was absolutely correct. Your difference is definitely special! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely will share your kindness, Julia — thank you for that! xoxoxox! 💕💕💕


  11. You can deal words and cards with the same hands. Brava! The only writers with reading are those with the capacity Miss Lenz saw in you, just as painters like Van Gogh show us a world we only recognize when they remove the veil. Thanks, Vicki.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness — thank you, dear Dr. Stein. Miss Lenz was a giving soul. Someone I’ve tried to emulate for years. ❤


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