It occurred to me this morning that with all the books I have read, I should be speaking about fifteen languages. Seriously, I could have been studying something, learning something, MASTERING something. I could have an array of party tricks that include reciting the book of GEnesis (gets 'em every time!), quoting whole scenes from Shakespeare, details from the periodic table of the elements, and otherwise alienating my peers (but with some warped measure of satisfaction). I could have been doing SOMETHING with all that time. Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I sit around reading all the time. I sneak it in--instead of turning on the television, in place of sleeping, while I wait for the dryer to finish, in the carpool line, while pumping gas, you get the picture. But with some planning and organization, I could have covered all the Rosetta stones, finally learned all the lyrics from RENT, and memorized every child psychology book in the library. My house could be immaculate and organized. I could have a freezer full of casseroles. My walls could have fresh coats of paint. I could have trained for a marathon.
But I didn't. I read. And read. And read. In little snippets and big chunks. On my kindle and at the library. Crappy paperbacks and dusty volumes.
Through it all, I really did learn something. I would even say I mastered something. Some might even call it another language as elusive as it can be. And I learned something the only way it can be learned, by reading.
I learned about story. About character. I learned about the poetry of great writing. I learned the deliciousness of the correct verb and the jolting ugliness of the wrong one. I fell in love with characters over and over again and learned the art of seduction. I have grown more firmly convinced that art is critical to our human experience, that stories can inspire and transform, and that children need great stories to become healthy adults.
So here I am. A master? Not hardly. But I'm a lot closer than I was ten years ago.
So when I sit down to write this morning, when the enemy of art tells me it doesn't matter, when I feel dejected and pointless, when I wonder if anyone will ever read my work, when I am tempted to quit because it just doesn't matter, I KNOW BETTER. I know that it does matter. That even if my writing never lands in the hands of another child, it has crafted me and my world.
Though even as I write those words, something inside of me SCREAMS because I know I am called to do this work. I wake up every day compelled to tell another story or to tell an old one better. To keep writing. To keep improving. To keep growing. To give my best work and nothing less.
I create to honor my creator.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.