Making a difference has nothing to do with your volition. You make a difference. If you don’t believe me, walk down the street and see if people move around you or not. You count. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Currently in my Print Futures writing class we are workshopping pieces for the Facts & Arguments section of the Globe & Mail newspaper. Basically the section is open for submissions from anybody (supposedly Canadian, that is).
Because I am not a full-time student in the Print Futures program, I’ve stepped into this class not knowing anything about anyone. However, once we started the Facts & Arguments section, this has quickly changed.
The Globe & Mail’s F&A section asks for a personal narrative or creative non-fiction. This means that they look for pieces that are about a real event, but wrapped in a bigger picture theme. The best part about this genre is that its directly influenced by the creativity of those who submit – which is limitless because everybody has a story to tell in their own words.
Now back to the class, this has been so enriching. I read the most beautiful story from my classmate Linda. It was titled The First Six Weeks. She is a relatively recent mother of a baby son, and wrote about the first six weeks of his life — which seemed like the same dreaded night on repeat.
What was so revealing about her piece was how I could relate to it. Even though we are very different people, I found myself empathizing with her completely. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh when I read it. There is a beautiful innocence to the mixture of feelings that go with birth and life that Linda captured. It’s like when you’re crying at elementary school and the teacher asks if “x and y happened” and they hit you right in the heart and release all your tears. That’s basically how touched I was.
I’m sorry to tease you, but I do not have a copy to share with you at this moment. I very much wish her to submit it (as I wrote about when I commented on it in workshop) and I want very much to read it again!
Truly it is powerful to be so changed by a piece, and to have the opportunity to communicate that to the person who wrote it. Giving thanks is such a wondrous thing to do. We learn from each other and teach more than we know.