Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Writing wisdom from an unlikely source

I had the pleasure to speak in an Environmental Literature class at Fort Lewis College the other day, and was asked a good question: Have I ever heard any good advice from someone that influenced my writing?

I had to think for a minute, of course -- not because I couldn't think of anything, but because I could think of so much. There's a lot of writing advice out there, and over the years I've digested a good chunk of it.

But after a minute of mulling -- and I mean a minute at most -- something popped into my head, and it surprised me what it was. What it was was the memory of Will Smith (yes, the actor/rapper/TV star/"Fresh Prince of Bel Aire" Will Smith) speaking at the Nickelodeon Channel's "Kid's Choice Awards" a few years ago (2005, to be exact). In that most unlikely of venues -- I just happened to be sitting there watching this goofy show with my kids -- this most unlikliest of persons said something that really stuck with me, and that has only grown in profundity over the years.

Smith took this small opportunity on this completely contrived and childish event to offer his audience -- kids who look up to him -- a small, highly digestible tidbit of advice that I found to be brilliant and truly inspiring. And that I found to be a fine perspective on the perseverance and work that writing requires.

So here it is (in a somewhat expanded "video-ized" version). Check it out.

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