Like I said in my previous blog post, “Reach out and Touch Someone”, I believe that the moment of feeling – that connection between writer and reader – is all important. But, that feeling cannot happen if we don’t have the right words to convey our meaning.
As a writer, I am on a never ending quest for the right words, both in my own writing, and in the stories I read. Occasionally, I am rewarded in that quest when I find something that really speaks to me. Today, was one of those occasions.
One of my favourite websites is lettersofnote.com. The site is a collection of letters from different people over varying periods of history (how the webmaster comes by them all, I am unsure). Today, I read a letter from Ronald Reagan to his son, written just before the boy was about to get married. The meaning of the letter touched me so that I immediately shared it with my wife, and want to share it with you now here.
This, to me, was an example of both finding the right words to convey a meaning, and setting them out so that it touches that place of feeling in someone else. I doubt, very much, that Reagan meant those words to be read by me when he penned them almost 10 years before I was born, but they have existed and remained, for over 40 years, and have now reached through that space and time to leave me with a little tingly feeling in the back of my neck and the bottom on my heart.
These are, indeed, good words.
When I look beyond the Craft of these words and examine them solely for the meaning behind them, it touches me. The words may be a little outdated, and perhaps viewed as a little chauvinistic, but the message is sound: Love your wife (spouse). Be good to her. Be true. Don’t be a lying, cheating bastard because it will cheapen both you, and your relationship. No matter who you give your love to, be you straight, gay, or any other variation, I think this is something that can speak to us all.
We live in a day and age when love, and marriage especially, seems to be a disposable thing. We hold it close when it is new and shiny, and show it off to everyone we meet, but when the surface gets a little dull, or the edges wear thin, we are quick to put it out of sight and look for the next thing that might sparkle a little more. Reagan is saying that a relationship is all the more better for the work you put in to loving just one person, and giving them everything of yourself you have to give.
This message, crafted between a man and his son, is a message we could all hear a little more often, I think.
This is the ultimate goal of our craft. Whether you write novels, short stories, essays, blog posts, or small thoughts; to have your idea, your message, move through the space of 40 years and several generations, to reach another living person and touch them is a valuable thing indeed. It is something we can all aspire to in our own writing, and hope for in our reading.
As I re-read the message I wrote in the above post, I wonder if it will still exist in 40 years, and if it does, will someone read it and take the meaning I am trying to convey.
Only time will tell, but if a dead president can reach me with a 40 year old letter I was never meant to read, then I think there might be hope for me yet.
And, perhaps, hope for us all.
Thanks for reading.