Thank you to everyone who spoke with me when I had that silly depression episode. It’s great to know that what I write isn’t in vain, that there are people who are affected by my words, no matter how silly or serious they are.
As many of you know, I’m a voracious reader. My favourite genre is fantasy, and I’m always on the lookout for books that break the fantasy stereotype (which is one of the main reasons why I didn’t pick up authors like George RR Martin and Terry Goodkind; their books sounded very much like typical “swordsman saving the world” kind of fantasy).
Michael Stackpole’s Age of Discovery series is one of the books I picked up on a whim (or someone passed to me, or I discovered it in a library, can’t remember). The book detailed a few intriguing concepts, but the one that kept me reading the series was about how it explored the art of mapmaking, also known as Cartography.
In a nutshell, we shape our reality by our perceptions. Magic can be used to force that perception down other people’s throats, but then the question asks what happens if you have two magicians facing off each other, attempting to shape reality to their own victory?
The story also explored the idea that one reaches and uses this magic by achieving mastery in their talents. I have to give Stackpole credit. I’d never thought that one could have the talent for dying and more interestingly, a talent for bureaucracy. I read Stackpole long before I read Goodkind’s Confessor (from his Sword of Truth series). Of the two, I think Stackpole did a far more magnificent job of bringing his world to life.
It was the idea of everyone finding and honing their talent that made me believe in my own passion. I believe that everyone is suited to their talent. Their passion will often be tied closely to their talent, unless something in their nurture screws up and makes them hate their talent.*
Talent is something you are born with. Passion is something you learn to nurture. Often these two meet. Someone who’s passionate about their talent will be much like what we know of martial artists; they will hone their craft to the best of their abilities. Often they go beyond.
But honing your talents only for the sake of your talent is a dead-end road. There comes a point when you stop and ask yourself, What am I doing it all for? Does making people cry with my words matter? Is all there is to life killing as a swordsman?
This is where passion comes into play. I believe that the passion to develop a talent is often driven by something the person believe is greater than themselves. A true swordsman, they say, is driven to hone his talents to protect those he loves, or to fight his country’s enemies. A writer hopes to change the world. Both have a goal to strive to.
These goals are not goals that can be reached in a lifetime. In life, there are some goals you cannot reach. These goals create discontent in a person, which is a good thing because they force a person to strive to be better at what they want to do. It’s a very powerful component of Self-Actualisation.
Someone once said that they wrote the stories they wrote because they believed that somewhere out there, there’s a reader who needs to read the words they’ve written (I know that a Nanowrimo-an wrote this, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember who. Help?)
That’s the main reason I write. I write because I believe that someone needs to read my writing. Whether it is read today, tomorrow, or even years in the future, it doesn’t matter. I write because I believe that someone needs to hear my words, even if that someone is me.
Someone once asked me, would I take responsibility for my words, should they inspire a murder?
I said no, then. I’m still saying no now.
The reason is rather simple. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. I take responsibility for what I write, in that I admit ownership to writing these words. What I don’t take responsibility for, is the reaction to my words.
If someone tells me that they have been changed by my words, I take pride in knowing my words reached someone. If someone commits a murder because of my words, I take pride in knowing that my words encouraged someone to do something. I do not, however, take responsibility for the changes my words make.
A friend left behind a beautiful comment in my blog. She said that it was thanks to me and my writing that she started to take an interest in politics, that she was not alone in her beliefs. I take pride that my words reached her, and caused her to change her mind, but I don’t take responsibility for the actions she’s undertaken because of that change. I’m happy that my words reached someone.
We are not responsible for the actions others take, unless we have ordered that action ourselves. Rather, each person is alone responsible for the actions they have chosen.
I believe in that. Everyone of us has choices. We always do. Of course, you must also realise that each choice comes with a consequence.
*Disclaimer: I hate reading and writing when I was a kid of 5. Look at what I’m doing today! :P