Writers are the Recorders of History, So Do It Well
The Recorders of History
Ancient Greece had them. They would sit on the courtyard steps in Athens, wearing their white tunics, and chat with the philosophers and politicians, the common man and the powerful, and record it all so that other generations could learn.
Ancient Rome had them. They could be found at the chariot races, telling of brave feats of daring, and they could be found sitting at the feet of the Emperor, recording his every decree.
They could be found in the piney woods of Georgia, jotting down grandma’s recipe for apple pie, and they could be found in the dingy apartments of London, calling for political change.
They spoke to political giants and to the commoner. They spoke to the rich and the homeless. They walked the backwoods of Massachusetts, calling for massive change, and they walked the woods of Yosemite, calling for environmental protection.
They wrote about racial injustice in a small southern town, and they wrote of economic collapse on the Oklahoma flatlands, and wherever man struggled, and wherever man succeeded, they were there.
They were the writers of history, recording the events and customs of each generation, and where, oh where, would we be without them?
They Are Still Alive Today
It is a noble calling, passed down with the years, and they are among us today, doing their thing so that the next generation can learn. You will find them in Hudson, Florida, and Charles City, Iowa. You will find them in Wales, and you will find them in South Africa. They are housewives and businessmen, single parents and happily married, without a home and living in luxury, roaming our countryside with pen and notebook in hand, looking for the next story, creating the next story, and reveling in the thrill of the next story.
They are paid pennies and they are paid grand royalties. They work in relative obscurity and they work on a national stage. They answer to a voice few can hear, and that voice drives them forward, word after word, thousands each week, and the weeks turn into years, and the years turn into a lifetime, and when the last word has been written, and they set their notebook down for the final time, they know they have been a contributing member of an elite brotherhood.
They are the writers of each society, and theirs’ is a sacred quest.
You are the writers of our society, and yours’ is a sacred quest.
And may God bless you all!
Whether You Are A….
Whether you are a writer of news or a chronicler of the human condition; whether you write travel articles or recipes; whether you are a teller of stories or a struggling poet; you are the carrier of tradition. You have taken the baton from Steinbeck, from Angelou, from Thoreau and from Muir. You accepted the responsibilities of Breslin, Lee, Rousseau and Locke.
You have declared yourself to be a writer, and in so doing you have agreed to carry an eighty pound knapsack for the entire journey of your writing career. Yes, it is a heavy load, and yes, you will stumble from time to time, but it is a load worth carrying, and it is a load that must be carried.
Society needs you, today and in the future. Those who do not write rely on those who do, and that means that seven billion souls rely on the work of a few million, and you are one of that few million.
And write well!
And when you have written well, learn to write better still.
That is your quest.
That is your job.
That is your calling.
Responsibility Is Calling
No excuses now. We have come too far, you and I, and old friends do not fabricate b.s. to placate each other. Here is the simple truth for all writers: writing carries with it a responsibility, and that responsibility is to be the best writer you can possibly be. I don’t give a rat’s patootie if you write recipes or DIY how to articles. I don’t care if you are a storyteller or a poet, and craft writer or a political firebrand….you have a responsibility to be the best writer you can be.
If you are not willing to do that, then get out, because society deserves better.
Years ago, I was pitching in a high school baseball game. I was cruising along, mowing them down, and in the 6th inning I was leading 2-0 and had only given up two hits. In other words, I was on cruise control and life was good. With two outs in the 6th, a batter hit a ground ball over by first base. The first baseman gathered up the ground ball and then turned to toss to me, since it was my responsibility to cover the bag. I wasn’t there. In a perfect example of a brain fart, I had forgotten to rush over there, and the batter was safe.
No harm was done, and I struck out the next batter, meaning that we only had one more inning and victory would be mine. Our coach, however, did not see things that way. He yanked me from the game, and when I asked him why, he told me that I had a responsibility, and I had failed the team by not doing my job well. We ended up losing that game 3-2 as the pitcher who replaced me gave up three runs in the seventh.
I have never forgotten that lesson.
Do my job well or hang up my cleats.
And now I say the same to all of you: do your job as writers well or hang them up. Society needs your best effort.
I Love the Fact
Well, I love the fact that one-hundred years from now, someone will be looking for an article about writing, and they will come across something I have written.
I love the fact that one-hundred years from now, someone will be looking for an uplifting story, and they will find one I wrote, and they will smile.
I love the fact that my name, and my work, will live on long after I have gone.
My writing is part of my legacy.
My writing is part of society’s legacy.
And I just find that ultra-cool!
And because I find it ultra-cool, I want my writing to be the best it can be. Because I take my responsibility seriously, I want my writing to be exquisite.
Somewhere out there, this very moment, a little child has been born, and that little child is going to grow, and they will love reading, and one day, long from now, they will come across a story written by William D. Holland, and that story will entertain them….and a connection will be made by two people, separated by decades, but two people nonetheless…and that connection will be magical.
Do you want to be a part of the magic?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”