To the Editor:
“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here.”
These words from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address given at the dedication ceremony of the battlefield on Nov. 19, 1863, live on. How wrong he was about not remembering them. Others spoke much longer but who remembers the speakers or what they said? A few choice words often are better than long-winded, more colorful prose that is soon forgotten.
I know I will never forget those words. While others spoke much longer, I have learned he wrote these words on the back of an envelope and spoke only about two or three minutes. I often think of them when I write. My writings end up in some newspaper, lining the bottom of a birdcage or used to housebreak a new puppy in some household.
It would be rewarding to write something like Lincoln did, that lived on through the ages. Before the invention of typewriters and computers, writers had to write their novels in longhand.
I understand Mark Twain was the first author to use a typewriter. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of "Little House on the Prairie," must have had a burning desire to write as she did. She was not what I would consider a great writer, but her words have endured. I don’t compare myself with her or other early writers. I know my writing is not great literature, nor is that my intention. Not everyone understands some of the more lofty writings of the intellectuals.
There is a market for the so-so writers, too, who write letters to the editor. We have spawned a great number of writers with the ease with which we can express ourselves these days. This interesting tidbit may be applied to those of us who are non-professional writers. Our humble attempts don’t compare with the great writing of old. Bear with me about the following, but I think you will get my point:
Pity the mule who has no pride of ancestry nor hope for posterity. We may not “create” great literature that will endure like writers of old so have no hope for posterity. So we are the “mules” of the literary world. Remember brevity is the soul of wit and also best when giving a speech.