As writers, we are usually sensitive to injustice, and we notice everything, from the smallest hiccup to the king-size eruption. So, we’re less likely than most people to miss seeing the elephant in the living room, even if the wrinkled dear hasn’t sideswiped the front door off its hinges on her way in. Anything we say to or about the elephant will have far-reaching consequences, just as anything we post on the Internet will be there forever, somewhere!
Events do get by us on occasion, of course, since only a few of us are destined to be the ancestors of perfected androids. For the sake of argument, though, let’s say we have been noticing everything that’s going on. That being the case, we’re likely well on our way to discovering that everything that happens does so for a reason, albeit inscrutable at the time. Every event in the world is connected to something else.
Over the years, we become more aware of synchronicity as being real. Debunk it if you haven’t yet read up on it, but it’s haunting. The paperback book found in the sheltered doorway of a closed bookstore in northern California’s Green Valley community literally meets the needs of the visitor who discovers it that day. That is unlikely to happen by mere chance.
The phone call one morning from a new church friend rescues a first-time mom from despair over the screaming misbehavior of her 2-year-old daughter. That call did not happen just by chance. Anyone who thinks it did has probably never been around a 2-year-old whose mother is desperate for help.
On Our Mortal Journey
As we move through life, we writers absorb everything, taking copious mental notes about society and sometimes, physical notes, if we can do so without being obvious. By that I mean it’s educational to listen to the way people talk in the real world in different settings. Just don’t let them see us writing it down, or playing with a micro-recorder. We don’t want to get punched out for it, then or later, due to our not having been discreet.
As we make our mortal journey on our winding highways and byways, writers also touch the lives of other people. Everyone with whom we interact will remember us. “I am a part of all that I have met,” (Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson), “and they are a part of me,” to extend Tennyson’s observation.
The reaction may be, “I knew her when she wasn’t famous” or “… before she got so full of herself.”
Alternatively, the response might be, “That lady was kind when everyone else was mean.” or “That guy changed my life!”
I believe we will be here on earth until we have met everyone we are supposed to meet. Cloistering ourselves may interfere with that purpose, or it may not. We are each unique, with different talents to develop and varied social abilities. The shy writer may be the one to make a difference in the life of another individual who is repulsed by the extrovert. We cannot know ahead of time.
A Writer’s Reach
To ruin a metaphor, the butterfly writer who stamped her little foot could indeed trigger a long-overdue Congressional investigation into the mortgage industry, even from the other side of the world. If nothing else, her landing on the unstable scales of justice would have tipped them, so that all the gorging, fat beetles slid and scrabbled off.
The pen has always been mightier than the sword but what a writer can do today with the written word reaches far beyond our predecessors’ imagining. Moreover, to realize that no more will self-appointed gatekeepers determine who is published and who is not, who is accepted into the clique and who is shut out, refreshes in the same manner that a gale blows away teetering wooden fences and fancy hammocks! The responsibility for sifting wheat from chaff will now rest heavily upon the writer and the reader, beginning with the writer and preferably with one who understands and strives to cherish a language, not vulgarize it. A writer’s reach has no boundaries now but limitless potential for either doing harm to or enriching the world in which we dwell. Let us choose the better part and help to elevate humanity.