I’ve been a big reader my whole life. Can’t imagine an existence without books, and I’m so grateful for all the things writers produce that add pleasure to my life: movies, poetry, plays, articles, great TV scripts.
So why don’t I thank writers more often?
Do I take their work for granted? As a writer myself, I know that good writing is hard. The easy part is coming up with an idea. The hard part is carrying out the research, spending hours at the keyboard, looking at your work critically and cutting, reorganizing, and polishing over and over. Taking an idea and turning it into something that informs, entertains, or moves other people is rarely fast or simple to do.
On Mother’s Day I read “Talented and Gifted” by Steve Hendrix in the Washington Post Magazine, and it touched me so much I had to write and thank him. It’s about his mother–a divorced single mom who died when he was a young teen–and the lasting impact she had on students during her two years as a fourth grade teacher. He hit upon many themes that resonated with me: the power of teachers and mothers as well as loss, creativity, resilience, and pluck.
Add newspapers to the list of things writers contribute to my life. Sure, they contain bad news, but they keep me in touch with the world and sometimes they bring joy. I can go without coffee in the morning, but not without the newspaper.
It’s disheartening to see periodicals close down and newspapers grow thinner. According to Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander, despite a sharp drop in the paper’s circulation (13.1% for the six months ending March 31), the Post will survive because of its high market penetration and affluent, educated market. I’m glad to hear that, and I hope that the great work journalists do will continue to be valued.
Me, I’m going to start thanking writers more often. Because what would readers like me do without them?