Ask your friends. You may not even be human.
You write for your living or your passion, baring not only your creations on paper but your soul in doing so. If you’re a fiction writer, the work comes from a place of heart, mind and spirit that few others tap into as frequently, and you’re immensely brave to so boldly risk such exposure.
If you write non-fiction, you commentate on human events from a perspective either non-biased or skewed, and risk alienating those of whom you speak. If, that, is, they are still alive.
The rewards of both can far outweigh the risks, of course, but as writers do we have a choice in the matter? We write, or we don’t. The former option makes us true writers, the latter … pigeon posts, tagging messages around the legs of birds to deliver an opportunity to someone else.
No judgement about that profession, despite the tone. Just, again … you’re a writer, or you’re not.
This piece is addressed to the writers here.
I love how you build worlds and characters never before seen. Thank you, Anne Rice, for Lestat. Thank you, George Lucas, for Luke Skywalker. Mary Shelley, the visionary original “Frankenstein” will remain timely and urgent throughout history. Ditto George Orwell’s “1984,” and Alan Moore’s “Watchmen.” J.K. Rowling, you’ve convinced millions to read again.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, thank you for changing history and breaking Nixon’s Watergate scandal with “All the President’s Men.” Malcolm X and Alex Hailey, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” is an imperative work. Alex, “Roots” ain’t so shabby either.
I can go on. In fact, I have …
THE 21 MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS EVER WRITTEN, AND A SELECTION OF HONORABLE MENTIONS
Allow me to get this out of the way first: I’ve read each and every book listed here, as well as those mentioned here…
Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass” is a wonder. Writer-producer Norman Lear, kudos for bringing England’s “Till Death Do Us Part” to the U.S. and introducing us to the brilliance of “All in the Family.” William Shakespeare, what happened to you was no accident.
Jim Morrison, I’ve loved your music, man. Stevie Wonder, Madonna, John Williams … Eminem? Like Steve Martin said, “Be so good at something you can’t be ignored.” I haven’t been able to ignore a one of you.
My belabored point is we create magic. Those who write code for computers and video games are on this list too.
Without you all, my fellow writers, imagine how less rich this world would be.
Remember, once upon a time, those men and women listed above were not established either. Then they put pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard.
And they wrote.
Who knows? “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — type holodecks certainly may become the next creative opportunity for our particular brand of genius. You know how it is. By spending so much time in our own heads, we understand more than most exactly what it is to be human. Their needs, wants and yearnings.
We’re so powerful, though, and so laden with magic, as the title of this piece suggests we may not be human after all.
Writers are something more. Am I pandering with these words? Perhaps, but not insultingly so. I find that I have to sometimes speak in hyperbole to get the point across that we are just some very special people.
That’s not ego. That’s truth. Admit it to yourselves, and let’s move on.
As to relationships, the proper care and feeding of writers is itself an art. Let’s just say it requires a special type of carbon-based life form to support our creative efforts, but when they do, it can be wonderful. They put up with our moods, including those that have us grumble about throwing in the towel and giving up on our gift. They hear each and every one of our excuses, and they deserve some serious credit for listening to us.
But why stop? Why give up? The career is going too slowly for comfort? You’re not as wealthy as you’d like?
You’re not advancing in your life?
Well then, I have your answer: Buy a homing pigeon, and do the deed. Once and for all, throw down the pen or trash the keyboard.
And stop whining. Writing is a lifestyle, not a convenience.
Let other people make the difference, then. Let other people make the money. Let others become immortal.
Deceased writers speak to you, you know, from their work.
All that said … What was your goal, again? Why are you giving up?
Are you still giving up?
I thank you for your work, and for reading …
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