Where is the next generation of writers? It seems that young people can readily type on their laptops or txt on their mobile devices, but will they be able to write a good novel?
"Who reads anymore?" some people might say. "Books are so 20th century!"
Fair enough. But what about television and movie scripts? Even comic books, the major source of this summer's blockbuster movies, require good writing.
I'm not ready to give up on this generation yet. The next John Steinbeck or J.K. Rowling will rise up and capture the literary world by storm. If YOU want to be your generation's next great writer I suggest two things for your consideration.
Read voraciously! Read the classic novels that you are assigned in school: The Grapes of Wrath; Catcher in the Rye; The Color Purple. You know what your teachers assign you. And don't just see the movie or get a Wikipedia summary for your report. READ the book!
Start reading the newspaper. Sure you can get all the news you want from CNN and off the Internet, but every newspaper has local columnists who comment wryly on daily life. When I lived in San Francisco I always looked forward to the daily wit of Herb Caen, who taught me so much about the colorful people and places of my adopted city. And his writing style was something else!
Read the Bible! It is the most enduring literary masterwork of all time, filled with poetry, great storytelling, heartfelt letters, prayers, salvation history, and so much more. The Bible is the Word of God enthroned, spoken by God, recorded by the inspired authors, and expressed most eloquently in the person of Jesus Christ.
Many young people keep a blog on MySpace or Facebook. Stand out from the crowd and go beyond complaining about teachers or gossiping about who broke up with whom. Write a serialized fictional story that is always continued in the next blog. Write poetry that conveys your most lofty ideas in concise, carefully chosen words. Make your words soar like beautiful music, without the music.
Young writers, the world needs YOU to express the experiences of your generation in these uncertain post-9/11 times. We in the older generation need to be challenged by your fresh insights and ideas.
Read! Write! May your voice be heard, and may it resonate and inspire.
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