I guess you could say that Father Skiffington, S.J. was my first Mentor. He was my English teacher in my junior year at the University of Detroit High School. Somehow I had been named “Staff Poet” on the Cub Newspaper and he had been reading some of my stuff. One day he called me aside and said, “Art, I do believe God had a plan when He created every living individual and that He gave every one of us a special talent. If we can just discover our special talent and hone it and find ways to use our talent for the good of all humankind then this could become a world full of love and peace and understanding.” Then he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Art, I do believe that you were put on this earth to serve as a bad example.” I replied, “Yes Father, and look at the great job I am doing with this talent.” I could serve well as a bad example in both my conduct and in my academic achievement there.
Later I taught a course titled “You can sell your writing.” It was built around a poem I’d written which was rejected twenty-five times. I sold it the 26th time out. My course gave struggling authors the challenge to carry on and some found success. At the railroad years later I played the role of Joe No No in our A-V productions on Safety. Joe No No would break every safety role and we’d show me lying on the ground and we even brought in a stretcher and showed me getting into an ambulance and moaning with great pain. So many times both writers and professional speakers have shared with me how I had inspired them. Some said to me, “Art, I saw you succeeding and it convinced that I could do better in some way and I did.” What is your special talent and what are you doing with it right now?