The people who write the books, she said – or paint the pictures, or compose the operas, or design the buildings – are not necessarily those who are the very best at doing those things.
Instead, they’re the ones who actually sit down and do the job.
In other words, the people who accomplish things are the people who accomplish things.
You may not be Leonardo da Vinci, Janet said. OK, fine, you’re definitely not Leonardo da Vinci.
Janet is an art historian, so she should know.
But Leonardo didn’t wait until he sure he was Leonardo before he set out to do all the amazing things he did.
There’s no authority on high, Janet said, that appoints and anoints some elite group to produce society’s cultural treasures. Cultural treasures are produced by the people who sit down and get to work producing them.
I kept Janet’s words in mind as I began working on We Are Here, my memoir about my journey into post-Holocaust Lithuania, the land of my Jewish forebears.
Her advice kept me going for the full ten years from conception to publication.
And I still think of Janet as I carry out the post-publication phase of the book – responding to readers, writing opinion pieces, essays, and guest blogs, and giving interviews and talks.
The ones who create are the ones who create.
So go forth and create!
Do you have words of wisdom to share? Join the conversation!
Ellen Cassedy’s book is We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust (University of Nebraska Press, 2012), which won the 2013 Grub Street National Book Prize for non-fiction, the Towson Prize for Literature awarded annually to a resident of Maryland, and the 2012 Silver Medal in History awarded by ForeWord Reviews. Her first post for SheWrites was “Who Cares about Your Family Story? Ten Tips to Ensure Readers Will ...” Her [TIPS OF THE TRADE] series appears monthly. See all of Ellen's Tips for Writers.