A Happy (early) St. Patrick’s Day to all of my fellow Irish lads and lasses! As well as all of you wannabes! (You know who you are.) I hope you have a great time celebrating this special day.
blarney |ˈblärnē| (New Oxford Edition Dictionary) noun talk that aims to charm, pleasantly flatter, or persuade : he had the “street charm” of an Irish politician, but this blarney concealed his inner self. • amusing and harmless nonsense : this story is perhaps just a bit of blarney. verb ( -neys, -neyed) [ trans. ] influence or persuade (someone) using charm and pleasant flattery. ORIGIN late 18th cent.: named after Blarney, a castle near Cork in Ireland, where there is a stone said to give the gift of persuasive speech to anyone who kisses it.
Some call it "Blarney." Others, simply the gift of story-telling. I think it's a little of both. Many of us of Irish heritage who write, like to think that we have a little something "in the blood" if you will. Something genetically encoded within our being, that burns with a passion for the craft. All I know is that I have a desperate love for the art of story-telling. It's a gift.
"The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away." - Unknown
A dear friend told me that once. Actually, she had made me a little box that holds "truths" in it. She made it for me for my "life journey." I love it, and keep it on my desk at all times to remind me to remain true to myself. I reached for that tiny box this morning, as I have many times before. I've just grown a little weary in well doing. All of the waiting, reworking, revising, hoping, and possessing of my soul through the work of patience. All of the self-doubt that we as writers face at times. Even though we band together, and have one another, writing can still be a lonely place.
"Why do I do this?" I often ask myself, already knowing the answer to this rhetorical question. "Because I am a writer." But, why? "Because it is my gift." That truth was right on top of the stack in that tiny little box, as if it knew I needed to hear its voice this morning. It encouraged me greatly.
We know, as writers, that we have a gift. It's not something that just anybody can do. Now, I'm not saying that we're an elitist group. Absolutely not! I'm just saying that not everyone has the same gift. I can paint pretty well, but I'm no Picasso! I enjoy cooking, but it doesn't stir me inside (no pun intended). Unfortunately for my family, I can take it or leave it. Wolfgang Puck would shudder to see the state of my pantry or fridge.
If you are a writer, and if you identify with writing first and foremost as your passion, and your heartfelt desire, and as something that you see yourself doing for the rest of your life, no matter the outcome, that is your gift. If writing makes your heart sing or your heart go "pitter-patter," it's your gift. It's one of your purposes in life. (Of course, you have to be good at it as well. That's where the honing of your craft comes in. The dedication to learning the art of writing.)
If it is, then, our purpose to give our gift away, then give it away we must. We must give others the best of ourselves after first purifying our motives. Do we write to receive only? Or, do we write for the enjoyment and enrichment of others? We must think about our readers. We must be aware that they are on this journey with us. They must believe that we have them in our grasp, taking them step by step, exposing them to the elements. They are, very much, a part of what we do. In other words, we must give them the best of ourselves.
When someone closes a book after having read the last page and says, "What a story!" then, they have benefited from the author's writing. Another facet of existence has opened up for them. And, the author has gained another friend. The author has given the reader an intimate look into their heart, and a big chunk of themselves. The reader knows this, and has appreciated the gift. The gift had meaning, because the author had mastered the gift, then gave it away.
It is my desire to master my gift and then give it away. It is my hope that one day, someone will close the cover of my novel and say, "Wow!"
I wish the same for you.
It's been a quiet and reflective kind of morning.
"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."
- Oscar Wilde