Lewis, Wilder, Frost and Me

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...speech was for them a debased form of silence; how much more futile is poetry which is a debased form of speech. All those allusions to honor, reputation, and the flame of love, all the metaphors about birds, Achilles and the jewels of Ceylon were fatiguing. In the presence of literature they had the same darkling intelligence that stirs for a time behind the eyes of a dog, but they sat on patiently, gazing at the bright candles and the rich clothes.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

"I wish I could write like that," I say between mouthfuls of stew. "I love reading these great authors but it makes me bummed because my stuff isn't nearly that good."

I've spilled. Not only is my writing not up there with the masters, but I'm a messy eater too.

"I don't think you should be comparing yourself to the great writers of the past," my co-worker cautions. "Stick with what you're trying to write, keep improving, but don't compare yourself to what others do. That's not going to help you much."

She's right.

And as I think about some of my favorite writers, I realize just how diverse they are. My favorite bloggers are nothing like Chesterton, but I enjoy reading works by both. I absolutely love reading Lewis, but that doesn't mean I don't also enjoy the works of Robert Service. And some of the most well-known poetry in the world was written by Robert Frost and Dr. Seuss whose works are brilliant in their simplicity and nothing like Wilder's word pictures.

We have a constant draw to be like others whom we wish to emulate. May we not forget to be ourselves. Not because of some trite "you're special" kind of reasoning, but rather because we recognize that we--as unique individuals--have unique opportunities to shape and impact this world.

So, no, I'm no master author (though I'd love to be that someday). I also happen to spill things from time to time (something I'd like to see less and less of in my life). But for now, I must keep my focus on what I have been uniquely given to do: Encourage you in your homeschooling experience.

Each of your children is uniquely gifted to do certain things. That's certainly proven true for us four Holzmann kids. May you find ways to encourage your children to not become disheartened by the greatness in others but to find the greatness to which they have been called.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father

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