Friday, September 3, 2010

A Tribute to Marsha

by Tanya Parker Mills

Some women are indeed superwomen. I know it's supposed to be a Mormon myth among Relief Society sisters, but I'm here to tell you today that superwomen really do exist.

I remember when I first met Marsha at the LDStorymakers Conference in April of 2009. Very new and uncomfortable in a gathering where everyone seemed to know each other, I ducked and ran for cover every chance I could get. Even though I was a Whitney finalist that year and had been asked to take part in a self-publishing panel discussion by another superwoman, Annette Lyon (where I met still more superwomen--Joyce DiPastena and Sarah Eden), I felt very out of place and apologetic about even being there. After all, I'd only written one book.

I only attended the Saturday session, during which the panel appeared, and nervously placed my books for sale in the bookstore, not hoping for much. Some time in the afternoon, I took a spot at a table with Marsha for book signings and got my first full measure of the woman. I found her unique and had to kick myself for falling prey to the visual kind of stereotyping we all do. Sure, she wears hats I'd never have the guts to put on. But then, I look lousy in any hat and she can pull it off with flair.

From the beginning, she bent over backwards to teach me. She showed me her nifty little netbook (I now have an Acer...thank you very much, Marsha) and her new book trailer (giving me the guts to make my own months later...thanks again). I don't recall if it was that conference or this last one where she tried to explain the workings of Twitter (but I'm now on it...still need some tutorials there, Marsha).

Anyway, I had no idea what ANWA was when I went to the retreat last October up near Bellingham at the invitation of Liz Adair (also definitely a superwoman), nor did I have an inkling of Marsha's founding role in this organization. I was just happy to see her again and gain new insights (as well as a free download of yWrite5...thanks once more!).

Gradually, the whole story has come out and I'm grateful and amazed. Grateful that she thinks enough of us to build an organization for women who write in the Church. Grateful that she stays up late so many nights to see that it continues and flourishes. Grateful for all the sacrifices she makes on our behalf. And I'm amazed that she can do so much and still make time for her own writing.

I'm even more amazed now that I've seen how much she did, not only for ANWA, but for Storymakers, as well. She was doing all their website, except for the membership pages, I believe. Do you know how big a responsibility that was? So big that now, as the new Publicity Director for that organization, I'm splitting that job up into three parts at least, for three different people. Why? Because all the superwomen I know are taken or otherwise engaged, and I'm no superwoman.

Marsha, thanks for being so awesome. My hat's off to you! (You'll wear it much better, anyway.)

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful & fitting tribute to Marsha! My first physical meeting with Marsha was at the ANWA retreat in AZ, this summmer. Like most superheroes, what makes her so awesome is that she quietly goes about her work. No desire for fanfare or attention, just service in a quiet, unassuming way. Thank you, Marsha, for all you do! Much love and gratitude to you!

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  2. Hear, hear! I'm a Marsha fan, too. Whatta lady. I want to be like her when I grow up. Oh, I think I'm older than she is. How does that work?

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  3. I second everything you said! It's a beautiful tribute and the thing is---it's all true!!!!

    Love you, Marsha! :D

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  4. Three cheers for Marsha! I agree that you are a superwoman. Thanks for all you do.

    Wendy Jones

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  5. I think I'm going to cry. No. I know I'm going to cry. Thank you, sweet Tanya!

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  6. I absolutely agree! She's utored me so many times I've lost ount and she's always willing to help. She's so friendly at conferences and makes people feel at ease.

    Great tribute!

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  7. Marsha IS wonderful--and thank you to all the women who keep ANWA going so that we all can learn about writing while enjoyed each other's company. Tanya, you are impressive to. Keep up the good work and best wishes.

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  8. What a gift Marsha has given us all! Thanks, Tanya, for putting it so beautifully.

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  9. Marsha Ward is phenomenal. She has played a role in my life that no one else could fill. Thanks for reminding all of us how blessed we are to have Marsha be a part of our lives. Love you Marsha!

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  10. Well said! I for one can't wait to meet her (and others) at an upcoming ANWA event.

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  11. Marsha is truly one of the coolest people I know!

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  12. Tanya, I totally agree!
    Thank you Marsha!

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  13. Marsha will always have a special place in my heart...Not only is she a superwoman, but she's also dedicated, determined, and delightful!

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  14. Great tribute, Tanya, and extremely well-deserved. Marsha inspires me to keep learning. I too have been greatly blessed by her tireless efforts to lift, teach, inspire and smile through the storms of life. Marsha, you do more with a day than most people do in a week. Amazing . . . thank you . . . and thanks Tanya for nailing this one!

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  15. What a great tribute! I tip my hat to Marsha!

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  16. Tanya, excellent tribute.

    Marsha . . . hard to express what you represent to me. Since I'm a writer, I will try, but words won't really convey how much I appreciate what a great impact you have had on LDS women writers.

    ANWA, this most unique group of LDS women writers, now has around 250 members. Amazing! You don't just give service and charity, you are service and charity.

    I joined ANWA about four years ago. Within a few months I was invited by the ANWA General Presidency to fill the position of Treasurer for a sister that had to step down. This is where I met Marsha Ward. At first I was intimidated. You and the other ladies were so knowlegable about writing and had such a lovely friendship. I longed to be a part of the warmth I saw you all surrounded in. I was a sponge. I drank in all the wonderful knowlege you, Lorna, Connie and Stephanie shared. In a few short months, I soon felt like one of the "guys", and adored each of you.

    Marsha, you were truly inspired to create this group, and I thank you with all my heart. I cherish our friendship and have been so blessed to serve with you these past few years. I look forward to many more years of association and friendship. MARSHA WARD ROCKS!!!

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  17. I have not had the pleasure of meeting Marsha face to face, but this confirms my suspicions from what I've seen of her online. Thanks, Marsha. It does seem like you're everywhere, just going about doing good.

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  18. I'm late to the cheers but please let me add mine.

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