With the news today of the death of singer and actor Glen Campbell, I started thinking– when a singer leaves us, at least we have his/her music to listen to. We can cue up songs or search You Tube and play videos. They leave a legacy that can keep their memory alive long after they’re gone. Like this video of my personal anthem: “Rhinestone Cowboy”:
It’s sad and cool at the same time.
Writers are the same. When they pass, they leave their words for us to read and ponder and enjoy and be moved by. Artists leave their work. Ditto for filmmakers.
But it also reminds me (us, really) that we should live our lives so that we leave something behind when we depart. Words. Memories. Photos. Music. Love. Children. Something that lives beyond us.
What will you leave? What will I leave?
I hope it’s as good as this:
Gentle journey, Glen. Make beautiful music up there.
I woke up this morning with the need to say something. Oh, it’s not a new “something”–a lot of people I admire and respect have said similar things. But I feel the need to add my voice, for what it’s worth, to the chorus.
I know I won’t say it as eloquently as Chuck Wendig does here or John Green does here or Scott A. Johnson does here. I can’t be as succict or as powerful as Jane Yolen and Molly O’Neill and Andrew Karre have been on their Facebook pages. But this is just little old me and here’s my nickel.
We need story. Now maybe more than ever. Stories are powerful things. There’s a reason little kids always say, “Tell me a story.” Or why they need a bedtime story. Stories can reassure, remind us of what matters. Stories can help us see other points of view, experience things we might never get to otherwise. Stories are intrinsically human. We all tell stories, read stories, listen to stories. They connect us. They allow disparate voices to be heard. They allow the story makers to convey their feelings and they allow the story listeners or readers to experience those feelings. That’s always a good thing.
Now, thousands of people (myself included) are in the midst of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where we subsist on caffeine and little sleep to get 50,000 words of story (or more) onto the page before November 30. Now is the perfect time to tell your story. If you’re writing a story, keep going. If you haven’t started but you think you might want to, go for it. There’s something cathartic about watching those words form on the screen as your hands move on the keyboard or across the page. If no one else ever reads it, your story still helps you. If others read it, who knows? You may actually change a few hearts. Also a good thing.
Okay, yes, I know all art is important. But I write stories, so that’s where my thoughts are today. Artists and poets and musicians–go write your own blog posts. This is mine.
I’m not saying story is the cure-all to all of the world’s problems. But try imagining a world without story. I don’t think I’d want to live there.
Excuse me, now– I have go add 2000 words to my story. Write on!
“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” Jodi Picoult
This quote reminds me why I need to put my butt in my chair and my hands on the keyboard every day. I have to have something on the page to work with. Thoughts in my head are not a novel. They’re just entertainment for me when I’m bored.
“If you try to write 1,000 words a day, as I do, after 100 days you’ll look up and have a book. It may be a mess, and you may have to revise it 50 times, but you can’t revise it if you haven’t written it.”
Justin Cronin, author
This is especially appropriate for me now as I am in the midst of revising that mess. But he’s right. No words on the page equals nothing to revise in the first place.