In Memoriam – Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker“When you inspire one person you have already changed the world,” Sabina Nore wrote. Through his influence Glenn E. Walker earned the distinction of changing the world many times over. A writer, teacher and pop culture maven, Mr. Walker passed away far too soon on December 6th.

While writing professionally, Glenn still provided his tutelage to local writers through the South Jersey Writers’ Group. While serving as Membership Director he also led the group’s blogfests. In fact, he’s the person who introduced me to the organization.

Had it not been for Mr. Walker’s encouragement and support you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Glenn served as an invaluable inspiration to me when I began pursuing serious writing back in the early 2000s. Even now whenever I write something, I still ask myself, “What would Glenn say about this?” Three drafts later I’m still asking the same question.

Anyone who writes knows that it’s not a field of endeavor for the thin skinned. We can all recall either receiving harsh comments or outright discouraging critiques about our work; but never from Glenn. He always provided constructive feedback. The noblest intentions motivated his observations. Glenn understood that the most important task of a critic is to inspire a writer to write.

I first met Glenn at a critique group. His passion for writing really impressed me. Whether reviewing science fiction, political dramas or treatises on gardening, he showed the same enthusiasm. That love of craft carried over into his support of aspiring writers.

The highlight of my own writing career involved Glenn. He always promoted writers through “Writer Wednesdays”, “Follow Fridays” and by re-tweeting blog posts. When I last saw Glenn during the summer of 2015, I thanked him for his re-tweets. In fact, he’d just re-tweeted a pseudo-obituary I’d written about Pink Floyd’s recent break-up. With his most matter-of-fact tone he replied, “Hey, we’re a writing community. We support each other. It’s what we do.” I’ll never forget what he did next. Glenn shook his head and in his bass baritone said, “Man…that one on Pink Floyd.” I’d used the names of various songs from the band’s catalog to tell the story in that piece. I remember telling a friend at the time: “Something I wrote impressed Glenn Walker! This is my Nobel Prize in Literature!”

Malala Yousafzai once instructed: “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” Like a great writer, Glenn didn’t tell us: he showed us.

I extend my deepest condolences to Glenn’s family, friends and fans.

 

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