So what good does any of this do for anyone, anyway?
By Kim Ravold | Friday, February 25, 2022
By Kim Ravold
Friday, February 25, 2022
Okay, so you've got yourself a pen and paper. Maybe a laptop with one of those fancy word processors. A few good ideas. A handful of thoughts typed up, written out, one word after another. The words become lines. Paragraphs. Pages. You're in the zone, playing in your very own sandbox, a great exchange of dialogue here, a clever joke there, a fantastic metaphor that you can't believe no one has ever thought of before, and by the time you come up for air, emerge from this world you are forming, hours have gone by. Maybe you turn on the news and another breaking story spells trouble. Maybe you've accidentally ignored a few texts from a friend who's having a fight with her mom and needs someone to talk to. Maybe your calculus homework is sitting in a corner on your desk, exiled, waiting for you to come up with solutions to problems you don't quite understand yet. And maybe then you turn back to the pages you've just written, the characters you're just beginning to understand, the adventures you imagine sending them on in the future, all the plot holes you could brainstorm your way out of if you just thought hard enough.
And then you think that terrible, awful, very bad thought: what good does any of this do for anyone, anyway?
I must confess that I have thought this terrible, awful, very bad thought all too often, especially in my younger days of writing. Outside of the one or two creative writing classes I had in high school, it seemed as though my work had no place. That poem I wrote about the kitchen sink wasn't going to get me out of doing the dishes. That short story I wrote about my confusion with algebra was some good fun, but it didn't help me finish my math homework. I could write haikus all day and all night, but they weren't going to help anyone solve the problems of the world. Or so I thought.
See, the truth is that we've all had these terrible, awful, very bad thoughts before. Thoughts that said our writing didn't matter. That our imagination was only capable of conjuring up silly things, the type of things that are pleasant distractions at best, obstacles of focus at worst. A waste of time. A useless daydream. And we've been wrong about this thought every single time.
In 1973, a team of engineers at Motorola created the very first portable cell phone prototype. The team was led by Martin Cooper, who got the idea for the device when he saw a one Captain Kirk using a similar invention on Star Trek. Both the submarine and the helicopter can be traced back to the novels of Jules Verne. The evolution of the life-saving defibrillator goes hand-in-hand with Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. Solar power was predicted in a serial novel by Hugo Gernsback, first published in 1911. All imagined inventions. All arriving, after some tinkering, some inspired engineering, into our reality.
Think of what will come next. Think of what you can put into motion, and all with your writing.
The power of our imagination is what makes the world go 'round. The stories we tell each other are the forces that will drive us forward. The problems we face today are enough to make anyone question whether or not their creativity matters, but I am here to tell you: of course it does. That is the place where hope lives. That is the place where solutions are born.
Through curiosity. Discovery. Imagination. Creativity. Through my writing, and yours too.
Won’t you join me?