As a community college lecturer, I get a lot of brochures from textbook companies hoping to lure me into changing my course readers. Recently, I received a flyer in my mailbox for the new edition of the Norton Introduction to Literature. It’s a glossy black and white cardstock photo of author James Baldwin, sprawled on a striped air mattress with a silver pen in one hand, a cigarette in the other. He is gazing into the camera, his words printed in red ink above his head:
“You write in order to change the world knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that LITERATURE IS INDISPENSABLE TO THE WORLD. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter even by a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”
Wow. That pretty much sums up the kernel of truth nestled in the heart of every aspiring writer and blogger. We are all just plugging away at our keyboards or scribbling notes on a crumpled half sheet of notebook paper, hoping to change the world by the smallest of increments.
Maybe we’ll never get a book deal or land an agent, but still we persist. We understand that words have real power, and making one person laugh or cry is just as amazing as moving a million readers around the globe.
The internet is a vast and lonely place. It’s easy to feel insignificant when your post gets zero comments and the only people who’ve “liked” your page are your parents. But don’t give up. Don’t discount that lone hit that registered on your site at 3 A.M. in the morning. You never know. You just might have changed that person’s world, if only by a millimeter. 🙂
Keep up the good fight, fellow writers-in-arms.
Appropriate Keane song of the day: “Can’t Stop Now.”
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