George Bernard Shaw was a Renaissance man of the old school: a pungent playwright, acerbic critic, and vigorous political activist. His plays are still widely performed and one of them, “Pygmalion,” went onto become the ever-green, ever-popular musical, “My Fair Lady.” I have this “Writer’s Manifesto” of his hanging above my desk:
“This is the true joy in life…being used for a purpose recognized by
yourself as a mighty one…Being a force of nature instead of a
feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the
world will not devote itself to making you happy…I am of the opinion
that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it
it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
“I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the
more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before passing it on to future generations.”
What a spirited declaration of intention! And what a wonderful idea – to create your own personal “mission statement” about why you write!
True joy in life comes from being used by a mighty purpose
The harder I work the more I live
I rejoice in life for its own sake
Life is a splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up
What wonderfully inspiring notions. While you may consider our boy George goes a little over the top here, it’s the idea of zealously declaring your intentions as a writer that really appeals to me. Why not go all out, instead of holding back? Why not believe and declare to ourselves and others that we have a mighty purpose to fulfill? That our work matters?
Bravo, George! Let’s hold high the torch as we all write on!