Greatness

Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed a safe and joyous New Year celebration, wherever you find yourself in the world. I am always deeply affected by thresholds and turning points, so I have decided to dedicate this blog post to some of my thoughts about what this time of year means to me personally, but especially as a writer.

Last night, I had the opportunity to go out with a couple of friends to the twenty-something scene for New Year. We enjoyed ourselves for the most part, but as I observed people during the celebrations, I could not help but reaffirm something I have already known for a while. In everything in life, there is trashy and there is classy; the high road and the low road; the banal and the exceptional.

I believe that we, as artists, are a relatively small and unique group with a special calling. To us has been given the gift of creativity, and by employing our creativity through our art, by creating order out of chaos, we are like beacons in a world in turmoil. We are those who refuse to be content with the way things are and instead lift the minds of those who experience our art to the way things ought to be.

As writers, especially, we know that words– the primary tools of our craft– hold tremendous power. With words, we have the ability to make the abstract real; the power to cut down or to build up; and the potential to discourage or inspire.

With such power comes responsibility, and sometimes, as a melancholic temperament, my sensitivity to real beauty and truth can seem like a burden when I am discouraged by the feeling that I am confronted with a sea of mediocrity or when I feel alone as an idealist. It is tempting to look at the consumer lifestyle of our modern world, or the oblivious revelry my peers seem to make their modus operandi and feel as if everyone else is enjoying a more happy, comfortable way of life by conforming and settling instead of challenging and striving. But as Pope Benedict XVI, a man I greatly admire, has said:

“The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”

So, for this coming year of 2012, I have resolved to be more faithful to to my calling as an artist. Instead of viewing it as a burden, I wish to more joyfully count it as a privilege to be able to create beauty with my talents. No longer do I wish to be resentful or reluctant about that tasks and the real effort that come with the gifts I have been given. No more pessimistic, “suffering artist” attitude. No more condescending, impatient exchanges with people who do not share my ambition or my talents.

Now, a greater gratitude for and confidence in my strengths, and a more joyful and persistent approach to employing them, not solely for my own validation, but to truly benefit others in a spirit of humility.

As I have written this blog post, my computer has emptied its trash bin, and with 700 something items to be deleted, this process was long overdue. I think it is a fitting symbol to the start of a new year: sweeping out the clutter and debris of our past in order to free ourselves to pursue our goal with greater clarity and focus.

Perhaps if I make a public resolution here, it will hold me accountable more. So, I’m doing it: I resolve to write at least two blog posts per week while I continue working on my draft.

I hope that in 2012, you enjoy success in all your pursuits, but especially in your writing. In the coming year, don’t settle for less. Strive for greatness not just in your creative endeavors but in every aspect of your life. The world does not need any more mediocrity.

It needs you.

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