In recognition of Martin Luther King Day, I reread the text of his famous August 28, 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech that he gave in Washington D.C.:
Perhaps the most publicized line from his speech, and the one I remember best, is:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Beautiful, yes, but when I read the entire text, I was awed by the breadth of Dr. King’s wisdom, and particularly, how much of it still applies today:
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
Ms. Hemming’s story (as told in the Garrett on the Road blog) is the stuff of dreams. But, I have to say, I was disappointed as I listened to the producers and directors accepting their awards last night, because Ms. Hemming’s recognition as the author was only an afterthought, and barely captured before the award winners were cut off.
Where would all of them be had it not been for the story Kaui Hart Hemmings created?
Every Tuesday, I have a feature called “Telling Tuesday,” where I give a “telling” prompt, and ask my blog readers to “show” the scene, to use all five senses to “put us in the scene.”
And on the same subject of “overdoing it,” this brief post, “Something Should Remain Unsaid,” on the Advice to Writers blog, reminded me of a critique I once received, when a wise-beyond-his-years young man told me, “Trust your reader. You don’t need to tell him everything.” As a hands-on-Type-A-control-freak writer, I understand that my natural inclination is to guide my reader through each line of my story, to tell him what he should be thinking and feeling. After that comment, I realized I need to “let go and trust” in my writing.
It’s something I could probably stand to do in my real life, too.