For those of you who do not yet know Maya Angelou a great writer, poet, activist, etc, died today at the age of 86. She lived a long and crazy life for those of you who have read any of her literature you already know this. It just got me thinking…
I’ve thought and said this about photography as well as other things, but I’m going to put it out there in terms of writing. Any idiot with a camera can take a picture, but not everyone can make it great. The same goes for writing. Any idiot with a writing utensil and “paper” can write, but not everyone who writes can do so greatly. I’m sitting here in my mediocrity right now.
Society today breeds mediocrity. We don’t allow people to take extra time to make things truly great. We need things done yesterday and a million dimes in our hands or we don’t care. Look at movies and shows, they are all remakes or reality bullshit. Some remakes are awesome because of technological advances, but NO ONE has produced that next best original piece of writing. Harry Potter is definitely an amazing piece of writing and I will not bash it, but I don’t know if I’d call it truly great writing. Yeah I know who am I to talk. I’ve read all those books, I enjoy them, but there’s something about it that just falls short for me. What I mean is – poetry, meaningful soul and gut wrenching writing, epic adventures, crazy plays that have withstood the test of time… We have every little bit of information in the world at our feet and yet we make no nevermind to the things we can accomplish and the places imagination and creativity can take us. Instead we stifle anyone outside “the norm” with medication and self doubt.
The world doesn’t allow for “crafts” anymore. Things like writing, sculpting, playing an instrument and painting are very much things of the past and it’s a damn shame. There are museums all over the world with some of the best paintings in history that took such skill and precision to craft. And here we sit taking them for granted by snapping selfies with our camera phones and tweeting what we ate for lunch.
We no longer let people learn and hone their skills. We resort to calling them hobbies and only those with “talent” we deem good enough succeed in the pursuit of these things can survive. But those that became great had to start somewhere. They weren’t just amazing from the minute they were born. The world has become a lot smaller of a place since Homer and the Odyssey or even Jack Kerouac and On the Road. The ends of the earth no longer unknown. We now know what’s out there but we control what we deal with and what we want to see. We’re more open and close minded than we’ve ever been. We don’t allow people to fail unless it’s at a great monetary cost. We don’t allow anyone a chance at success without a similar cost.
Where are all the greats? Where will our legacy lie if not in the history of our great writers? Those that documented stories and shared their experiences in movements that lead to change in history. Those that shared so those who weren’t there can feel and try to understand. I’ve said to my grandmother years ago that my generation has never understood being a part of something “great” no matter how devastating the effects were. We still don’t get it. Anyone can be a writer. Anyone can share their story. Will you make yours count? I don’t think anyone really anticipates greatness when they set out but why not? The world is at your fingertips how will you make and leave your mark?