The Urgency of Non-Urgent Work

Among other things, I am a writer.

And writing, the chosen vocation of Zora Neale Hurston, Robert Frost, R.L. Stein, Charlotte Brontë, Sandra Cisneros, has illuminated our world. Absent the writers before and around me, I would be without language to understand the human experience.

All that, and yet there has never been a time where a flight attendant gets on the loud speaker and asks, “Is there a writer on board?”

I would love to be so needed. YES! I would shoot my hand up. You need prose stat? I am your gal. I will write the Dickens out of whatever you need written. (And yes, that pun was intended because wordplay is just one of the many tools we writers wield.)

Writing, like so many vocations, is needed. The need, though, is more quietly articulated.

Which makes these vocations no less important. The urgency of poetry, urban planning, modern dance, baking, sports, architecture, and so much more is felt in souls and hearts. Souls and hearts which may not scream like a patient in pain. But they will cry out if gone neglected.

So if you, like me, find your life’s work to be of a quiet urgency, know that it is needed. It can elevate, transform, redeem human life, bring grace to graceless corners, salvage unlived lives from the deadening of the status quo. These softly urgent callings are essential to our existence on earth. Even if no one will get on the loud speaker to ask in a frantic voice, “Is there a water colorist on board?”

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