Human beings are made of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage.” George Patton
“All serious daring starts from within.” Eudora Welty
Wow! Bringing together General Patton and the diminutive, elfin Eudora Welty on the same page – that’s quite a feat! Still, it makes perfect sense, since, to my mind, they are both talking about the same elusive quality: courage.
Right now, most of us are probably associating courage with people on the front lines battling the pandemic or facing down rioters or simply standing up for what they believe in a time of confusion and division. Yes, yes, yes! All this takes courage.
But let’s also remember Eudora’s inspiring words, “All serious daring starts from within.” Let’s also remember that it takes courage to do what we do: to write. And that it’s more true than ever now, when so much is happening beyond our computers and pages and outside our doors that seems beyond our ability to process and understand.
It takes courage to come to the page and battle with words when everything that’s going on around us seems to be telling us that we’re “nonessential” workers.
It takes courage to believe, along with Margaret Atwood, that, “A word after a word is power” – that words matter. That they can change things and have in the past.
It takes courage to struggle to stay focused on work that we care about in the face of so much doubt and destruction.
It takes courage to stay committed to goals we set for ourselves when the world was a very different place and when we ourselves had a very different mindset.
It takes courage to continue to create – hopefully, something wonderful — at a time when many people are tearing thing down.
It takes courage to think, to write with the goal of understanding something that you believe may be important to you and to others, when there’s so much mindless chatter and chaos.
It takes courage to remember that as Keats said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” – that striving to bring beauty into the world is a worthy, incredibly valuable endeavor.
Yes, we writers may not always remember it, but we’re also made of that miracle fiber: courage. So, in the face of all that’s happening, let’s be daring — seriously daring — and all write on!
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