When Alice Walker, author of The Colour Purple, was asked what advice she would most like to offer writers today, this was her answer: "The most healthy thing is to be true to your own self, but also, that you have a right to express what you see and what you feel and what you think. To be bold. To be as bold with your vision as you can possibly be. Our salvation, to the extent that we have one, will come out of people realizing the crisis of our species and of the planet and offering their deepest dream of what’s possible."
I was thoroughly inspired by those words. At some points along this writing journey, I've felt bolder and stronger than others, but it comes down to working through my own anxieties so that I can afford to be bold with what I am trying to say. I consider it my job to think through my ideas and communicate them in the best way that I can, so that other people can benefit from what I'm learning and experiencing.
Identification is an important part of the human experience. We are all looking for aspects of ourselves in everything we read, watch, say and do. We want to recognize what we are going through in other people, and in that common identification find the permission to grow and change; to become stronger and better as people.
Sometimes this kind of writing feels like a huge responsibility. It's always tempting to crawl back under my shell and be anonymous again, but I know how much I've received from putting these thoughts out into the world, and having the freedom to explore ideologies and emotions through all of the forms of writing I'm doing. It's worth it to be bold, even if it gets me in trouble once in awhile.
Alice Walker is 66 years old, and has written everything from Pulitzer Prize winning novels to essays to memoirs to children's books. Reading that interview with her in the October 2010 issue of Writer's Digest magazine was inspiring because it felt like a road map for where I'm hoping to go. If I can give an interview like that when I'm 66, looking back on what I've learned and contributed, it will be a deeply satisfying feeling.
All of us have a specific purpose in this life, and the advice to "be bold with our vision" applies to everyone. What is the point of being half-hearted in the way we live? We only get one shot at life here on this earth, at this point in history, and with these loved ones all around us. I want to make it count. To give away more than I have before, and to know myself better with each passing day, and to always be true to who I am and what I am trying to contribute to the world.