All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Friday, March 1, 2024

The Twilight Zone

The other day, I decided to leap into a pretty interesting rabbit hole. I started watching the original episodes of, "The Twilight Zone." Given that many of the original episodes were based on short stories, it felt like a nice way to stir up my creative writer side. Well... before you know it, my creativity was churning in every which way. I even posted a quote from one of the episodes that really resonated with me and the most important purpose behind writing. For those of you who didn't see it, it is as follows:

"I'm a human being. I exist! And if I speak one thought aloud, that thought lives, even after I'm shoveled into my grave"!    - Mr. Wordsworth in "The Obsolete Man"; The Twilight Zone

If you don't know the episode, this statement was by a man defending his right to have books and to their importance in a totalitarian society where the written word was outlawed. Needless to say, it did not go well for him - but there's more to the story than that. Anyway, this post is not about some hypothetical society but rather just what those magical words do when we commit them to the permanent record.

I have a modest collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century books. Nothing spectacular, nothing first-edition (I do have a signed first-edition copy of Coraline by Neil Gaiman, but that's not quite the same genre). There's Shelley's Frankenstein, Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the works of O. Henry and Edgar Allan Poe, stuff like that. However, the one book I find fascinating was one by an unheard-of author who wrote this book on the history of the Scottish kings. The book itself is not a revelation (outside of how it completely dispels the myth that is Braveheart), but there's an inscription on the first page that is priceless to me. This book was given to my great-grandfather back in the 19th century by his teacher as a sort of graduation present. He wrote a note of congratulations and hoped that my great-grandfather would go on to do many great things, and wished him well in life.

You've never met that teacher nor my great-grandfather. I've also never met either of them for that matter. However, with that one inscription, that teacher comes to life again every time I read it, as does my great-grandfather, who passed away almost 100 years ago. The emotions of that moment and the act of giving that gift from teacher to student all travel forward to the present day and live again in my mind, even if just for the briefest of periods. 

Just as Mr. Wordsworth suggested, that thought now lives long after those people are gone. Honestly, that's a spectacular thing when you think about it. And yes, when I think about it, I make a special point to remember that when I write my words, my thoughts, my fanciful stories, they have the power to reach beyond mortality itself and tap the shoulders of descendants I will never meet. In that moment, a part of me will live again, if only in the mind of another reader.

That's a Twilight Zone moment in itself when you think about it. But don't just think about it. Write it down.                

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