A recent discussion on one of my favourite groups asked the question: What is it that makes a writer great, rather then merely good? After reading many of the replies, it occurred to me that "greatness" is one of those mighty intangibles that pervades all walks of life, and is not exclusive to the writer. With that in mind, here are my own thoughts on greatness:
As we witnessed during the finale of the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, 'greatness' maintains it's dignity even in the face of embarrassment.
Greatness praises often and publicly. It criticizes rarely, and then privately. In either case, it keeps a sense of humour.
Greatness hones its craft with quiet diligence, seeking to study but never to imitate what has gone before.
Greatness does not make excuses, it makes an effort. It does the best it can with the tools at hand, never giving up. Greatness is the parapalegic who laughs, the homeless person who wishes you a good day, the reader who offers encouragment. Greatness is the one-armed fiddler who finds a way...
Greatness strives to share its hard-earned fortune. It raises others up, and never seeks to humiliate or lessen another.
Greatness is in each of us, as we struggle towards improvement. It's a struggle best made in unison, but it can also be made alone.
Greatness always has a kind word for the many, though it will, on occasion, turn away from the few, if it feels that kindness is lacking.
When greatness disagrees, it does so with the courage of its convictions, but never loses sight of other points of view.
Lastly, greatness always aspires toward betterment, both for personal enrichment and for the benefit of the larger community.
To each of you I extend this wish: May you feel the surge of greatness within your soul.
Best in writing,