All This You

I often leave students with my favorite quotes from Mary Pipher’s book Writing to Change the World. I think about her words as I shape my own life as a writer and speaker. As you consider your own writing and speaking life, consider her words:

“You have something to say that no one else can say. Your history, your unique sensibilities, your sense of place, and your language bestow upon you a singular authority. . . All of this individuality that is you, properly understood and clearly presented, is a tremendous gift to the world. It is a one-of-a-kind view of the universe.”

I like to remind my students and myself that when we clearly and authentically present our ideas, they do indeed offer a great gift simply because of who we are. Nobody else in the entire world knows what you know in the way that you know it. Nobody else has seen what you have seen in the way you’ve seen it. Who but you can tell us about it? Who but you?

On public speaking, Pipher advises us clearly. She writes:

“My best advice is to love your audiences. Be present with them. Form a small community in the time you have together. If you love them as neighbors and family members, they will know it, and they will allow you into their hearts. Then you can create moments for them in which transformation is possible.”

As another semester ends, I leave students and hope they’ve gained confidence as writers. I’ve hoped they’ve grown to love themselves and others more.

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