We Were There: A Moment with Bill Reflection About Writers
We Were There
Pen and paper in hand, we have trudged through the calendar of our times. We are the observers, the recorders, the dispassionate, and passionate, voices of the generations. Recorded history would not exist if it were not for us. The stories passed down over the decades come alive through our talents. The laws, the decrees, the judgments and the injustices, none can escape our witness. This is what we do. This is who we are.
We are the storytellers. We suspend reality and transport others to a time and place never before seen. We wrestle with nouns, with verbs, with adverbs and adjectives, mixing and matching, always in search of the perfect sentence, the perfect marriage of imagination and stark fact. This is what we do. This is who we are.
We were there on Bloody Sunday, witnessing the billy clubs, the tear gas, the pain, frustration and agony. As thousands marched, sang, chanted and cried, we recorded their every move, each of our words saved for posterity, a written account of history for generations to read.
We spoke to the survivors. We spoke to the instigators. We spoke to the main characters and those in the wings, each important, each with a story to tell, each, in their own way, a part of that history. Then we moved on to the next cry for justice, the next town, the next scene, wherever mankind rose up and demanded that the playing field be level, we were there.
In the Congo
We were there to witness the atrocities. We heard the flies buzzing as they feasted on the bloated bodies. We were revolted, repulsed, disgusted and sickened by what we saw, what we heard, and what we felt. How could it be so? How could mankind, meant to soar with the angels of kindness, create so much destruction and misery? Is there any sense in it? Are there any lessons to be learned by the wanton taking of human lives? Has life been devalued to such an extent, we asked?
There, before us, lay mothers, fathers, and children, their hopes crushed, gashed and torn asunder. There, before us, the blood of families mixed with the water-starved earth, and red mud appeared, a permanent stain on humanity.
And we recorded it all!
In Every Small Town Around the World
We were there for the bake sales, the Christmas school pageants, and the Friday night football games. We witnessed the jubilation when touchdowns were scored and new babies were born. We watched as people went about the business of living, going to and fro from work and from play, harried, relaxed, patient and frantic.
We watched as stores opened for business. We applauded school graduations. We mourned when loved ones were gone, and we recorded each event, every triumph and yes, every defeat, because that is what we do. That is who we are.
Across the Landscape
We took you on wondrous voyages to see the spectacular world we live in. From the Andes to the Alps, the Rockies to the Appalachians, we were there. From the amber waves of grain to the parched savannah, from the quaint Wales village to the frozen tundra, from the jungles to the rain forests, we were there and, by extension, so were you.
We traveled to Borneo, to Topeka, to Dubai and Dublin. We recorded the devastation of natural habitat and the loving restoration of the same. We were the eyes and the ears of our readers. What we tasted, they tasted. What we felt, they felt. We raised awareness about the environment, the town criers demanding that a world take notice.
From 9/11 to Paris
We were there as the smoke cleared and the horrors became apparent, and we gave witness to it all. We sighed in relief with the survivors, and we mourned those taken from us, and we vowed to never be silenced, never go down with lips sewed shut, for to do so would tarnish the memories of those who had died horrific deaths in the name of ideology…in the name of lunacy.
Where there was terror, we were there. Where there was intolerance, we were there. Where there was blood-splattered evidence of man’s inhumanity towards man, we were there, because that is what we do and damn it all to hell, that is who we are.
From Kitty Hawk to Canaveral
We were there when man tossed aside his chains and took to the skies. We were there when earth-bound man soared to the heavens and looked down on Earth from the lunar surface. We were there when speed records were broken, when universal secrets were unearthed, and when the status quo was shattered by yet another phenomenal discovery or invention.
We were there as mankind continued to grow, to postulate, to discern and to break free. We were there as the impossible became possible, as dreams became reality, and as limits became unlimited. We stood in awe at the achievements of giants, and we looked, in wonder, upon a little girl in her elementary science class mixing chemicals and vowing to discover a cure for cancer.
Even the Mundane Was Recorded
We were there to record grandma’s recipe for meatloaf, and we wrote 1,500 words on the best sights to see in Calais, because that is what we do…that is who we are. We taught you to quilt, to wet-felt, to lose weight and to fix your alternator. Click your mouse, Google us up, and you’ll find we are there, how to this and how to that, best ways this and best ways that, the top ten of music and the worst of sports, all by us, all done with loving care, because that is what we do and that is who we are.
We Are Writers Hear Us Roar
This is what we do. This is who we are, and hundreds of years from now, our words will still be read, and knowledge will be gained. So it goes. So it has always been. Our voices matter. Our opinions and reflections are vital.
Never forget that. Never devalue what you do. The world needs us, and that fact carries responsibility. We must always do our best. We must always demand perfection from ourselves. We must always rise above mediocrity and remember that we are a part of a much bigger picture.
We paint history with our words. We speak for those who have no voice.
We are writers.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)