I recently re-watched the movie The Holiday (good flick, if you haven’t seen it) and there is this scene that I love. An older gent, Arthur, is receiving an award for lifetime achievement in screenwriting and he doesn’t want to go because he thinks maybe 15 will come to hear him speak. When he gets there, though, he enters the auditorium to a standing-room-only crowd, all cheering. He had no idea what kind of impact he’d made in his field. People’s lives were changed by his work, his ethic, and his love for Hollywood.
I remember the gut-wrenching tears I felt in the moment Arthur entered and he saw the packed house. Why? Because I thought, “That is what I want.” I have this innate, deep longing to impact people – so much so that I often beat myself up over it, thinking the sheer fervency must mean it’s bad. Equally, all my life, I’ve loved and been moved by words. I collect quotes like Heffner collects women, read to discover that one beautifully eloquent sentence, and constantly hear the great lines in a movie more than I remember the actors or scenery. I write because I want to create something that makes others feel what I feel for words. I write because, after wasting too many years thinking to be artistic is to be less, I finally realized that ignoring the creative in me is the equivalent of turning myself into an emotional quadriplegic. I write to give voice to emotions and situations that confound me, bother me, excite me, humor me, wound me, so that others can read and realize they are not alone. Creating is the best me. I’m far more eloquent on paper – either in ink or with paint. If I am to ever fill the massive need I possess to impact people, my best hope is in creating. So, I need readers to consume my creations and, hopefully, get a glimpse of wonder, beauty, community, or ignited purpose. No small task, I know, but the only one I know that makes me come alive.