“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
You may recall Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, which tells the tale of a hedonistic and anti-intellectual American society. While the novel’s title describes the flashpoint of paper, the approximate temperature at which it ignites and burns, it also refers to the fact that firemen in this futuristic city start fires, typically to burn books, rather than put fires out. Given that this is my 451st daily consecutive post, I find Thoreau’s quote on fire and writing (discovered serendipitously earlier today) and Bradbury’s book to be a delicious juxtaposition.
When creative inspiration comes your way, take the time to give it expression. A friend sent me a poem written by her brother written when their father passed away, obviously in a moment of deep feeling and I was touched by the lyrical nature of this non-writer’s verses. Another friend of mine posted a photo of his son’s Lego creation on Facebook the other day, the obvious product of uninhibited creative expression. In both cases the iron was struck while hot and both inflamed the minds of their audiences, though neither were aware of the effect they had on others touched by their work.
That which you create reverberates out through the minds and hearts of present and future generations. I wish that we could instill in our children a greater sense of ownership for everything they create, for in so doing it is likely that more care would be taken in relation to every thought, word and deed wrought in a lifetime.
Whether Bradbury imagined the hedonistic and anti-intellectual society or foresaw its coming I cannot be sure, but looking around I see evidence of both types of cancer everywhere I look in our society. At the same time, I meet people whose lives are dedicated to the revelation of original thought, creative inspiration and responsible living on a regular basis, a fact that comforts and encourages me as I seek to serve my fellows.
You are not here to leave a tepid impression on the minds and lives of those you come in contact with. You are here to magnify the infinite variety in the expression of life. But to inflame the minds of your audience you yourself must be ignited.
What are you waiting for?