Today, Becca’s post may be one of the few Write on Wednesday prompts that I’ve disagreed with, if even in only the mildest of ways. But it’s a great prompt even if I don’t necessarily agree with Becca’s own conclusions from her question.
In the high school where I worked, we had a period of time each day known as â€œSilent Reading.â€ It happened about 10:30 a.m., right after morning announcements. Just after we heard results of the volleyball game, meeting time for National Honor Society, and were reminded to wear red and black for spirit day, the announcer says, â€œNow itâ€™s time for Silent Reading.â€ The entire student body -all 2100 of them- including teachers, stops class and reads for 20 minutes.
I love being there when that happens. I love the idea of everybody stopping in their tracks just to read, to enter into someone elseâ€™s world for a while. Wouldnâ€™t it be fabulous if the whole world took time every day to do that? And, wouldnâ€™t it be even more fabulous if the the world took 20 minutes every day to write, to enter into our own worlds a little deeper, express our vision of life and ourselves on the page. Wouldnâ€™t we all become more mindful of the beauty that surrounds us, the people that intersect with our lives, and more keely attuned to our own thoughts and dreams? Those are just some of the ways my writing experience has enriched my life.
So, how about you? Do you make time to write everyday? Donâ€™t you think everybody should?
I do fundamentally agree that everyone is given the ability to write and to express themselves (see Becca’s prompt for the entire context for these ideas), and I certainly agree that everyone can and probably should write every day – at least in some form: a journal, a letter, a blog, an email. Communication is fundamentally necessary for human health – that I know to be true.
However, I don’t know that I agree that everyone needs to write, as a practice, for twenty minutes every day. The concept of doing what you’re passionate about for 20 minutes every day – that concept I can get behind, but I simply don’t believe that everyone is created to be a writer. In fact, I don’t want everyone to be a writer, not because I don’t want more writers on the scene but because I want people to be who they were created to be. Some of us – my friend Lee, for example, is meant to work in the theater; or my friend Bill is meant to be making sure people are safe; or my dad is meant to work in wood; or my friend Joe is meant to teach mathematics – have other passions that we must live. If we don’t, we suffer and so does the world at large.
If I go Biblical here for a second, I might be able to explain myself a bit more clearly. In the Bible, the church is compared to Christ’s body; in Romans 12, it reads:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Godâ€”this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will isâ€”his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
I think we are all gifted and passionate in different ways, and what I want more than anything for other people is that they live their passions. So much of our time – especially if we’re women, but also in the case of men – we live our lives for other people, doing what they think we should do, fulfilling obligations and expectation. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we all just lived our true passions. Of course there would be great pain then – some of us, because this world is not perfect, would have passions that would hurt others – take serial killers, for instance. But I also believe that someone out there would/does have a passion – and thus the requisite skill – to work with serial killers to keep them from killing. And the rest of us – the writers, the painters, the actors, the moms, the dads, the street cleaners, the construction workers, the gardeners – all of us would live with so much more joy.
So to come back to the original question, yes, I believe everyone should write, but I don’t believe that if given only 20 minutes a day to live out passion, each of us should write. We should dance or sing or carve or protect or cook or rebuild an engine. We should live in our passion, every minute, every second. Every day.
P.S. I do love the idea of everyone reading for 20 minutes a day. What a beautiful image.