I am a writer. I fear saying it aloud, but it is true. I am a writer and whether good, bad or indifferent I write because I have been influenced by what I read or have read, see or have seen, hear or have heard. Years ago, the influence for most people was confined to their own professions (reader and writer partnership being an excellent example); these days influencers are more generic, and the influencing far more powerful and widespread thanks to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
No matter who the influencer, the results are the same. Ideas inspire, we react. Often results are unexpected, lovers are chosen, careers are reached for, and decisions are considered and taken and often, the life direction may alter. Reacting, responding can enrich our lives. However, once upon a time this input (influence) was discreet, more in our own hands; our choices were or felt personal.
I struggle with the fact that these days, individuals vie for the position as influencer openly, at ease with the idea of obtaining recognition and the dollars that hopefully follow. I question how much we are directed to feel or think for someone else’s motives. Yet, at the same time I think it’s incredible that social media can expand on what is available and if that clever influencer inspires us to be that little bit more, then it can’t be a bad thing, can it?
I honestly don’t know and can only speak for myself. I prefer to make up my own mind about things that will or won’t interest me, and I need time to process them. If I am bombarded, I regress into disinterest. Ironically, I also find it a relief to be directed. How totally fickle of me. All of this led me to consider just who have I been influenced by, and whether they would be considered influencers by today standards. None of them have media accounts although I would hazard a guess, a safe one, that they do have hashtags simple because they come into some sort of classics category.
I was a solitary child, not that I didn’t have friends, but I am a loner by nature with an imagination that requires that solitude although I can flit about like a butterfly to please societal expectations. When I read The Secret Garden, I discovered a haven, a haven for my imagination to thrive, a place for me to belong. It instilled a desire to do the same, to reach someone who needs the words that give them a haven. It’s why I started writing poetry. Frances Hodgson Burnett brought something to life just as Mary did in the garden.
Despite finding Emily Bronte’s use of language difficult (I was only 12) at times, the angst, the overwhelming feelings and the subsequent bad behaviours in Wuthering Heights, enthralled me. At the same time, Catherine and Hareton’s budding romance, sweet and pure, also captivated. I came away understanding people don’t always take the time to understand each other but when they do, miracles happen. I hoarded that knowledge waiting to share.
Different cultures or religions still clash, people are still greedy for power and lovers still love and betray. Shakespeare’s Shylock cemented the stupidity of judging people on their race or colour or religion. All his characters reflect something meaningful. Macbeth destroyed himself by feeding his ego, and Romeo and Juliet died because two sets of parents couldn’t agree on the value of life and love. Although I can’t say my own life is perfect, or indeed ever will be, I can say I stop and think about my actions, and Mr Shakespeare has something to do with that.
Discovering David Suzuki (pick a book, seriously any book) whose passion for the environment created cathedrals in the Amazon jungle instead of timber products made me re-evaluate my view of our earth and combined with the down to earth poetry of Bruce Dawe re-enforced the realisation that we need to speak up. Suzuki chose to present us with facts:
“My primary concern continues to be to convince people that there is a real crisis affecting all of us and that every minute we continue to deny or ignore it, the fewer options we will have and the harder it will be to make the changes needed to bring us back into balance with the factors that sustain our lives.”
Dawe presented us with reality, too much so at times. In Homecoming he says of the soldiers killed in Vietnam:
they’re rolling them out of
the deep-freeze lockers
Our loved one, our heroes reduced to slabs of meat is heart-wrenching. His reflection on the media and the toxic addiction of following fads is chilling. His description of a newborn coming home in Enter Without So Much as Knocking is ironic by today’s standards. The television is nothing compared to the social media at our fingertips – our mobile phones.
Blink, blink. HOSPITAL. SILENCE.
Ten days old, carried in the front door in his
mother’s arms, first thing he heard was
Bobby Dazzler on Channel 7:
Dawe has inspired my work. I may be a novice but, my words give reality to emotions and not just mine, and he influenced me to be brave, something that does not come naturally to me. From Emotions in Existence, Parking the Car:
Kindly place your bullying tactics elsewhere!
This is not the Bullshit Car Park,
and I have earned the right to park this damned car.
Influencers have always existed. True influencers are universal, their words continue to make us think long after time has buried them. I don’t follow mine with likes, yet their influence has had a profound effect. To be fair mine didn’t have the media available today although I am sure that dead or alive, they have one now, at best their own accounts, at the very least, their own hashtags. Maybe I should go add some likes but, at the end of the day, it is what we take away that matters. Without any media hype they gave me questions to answer, joy in words and knowledge. What are your thoughts?
Till next time
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