As most of you know, I was fortunate enough to hear Geraldine Brooks speak at the Fayetteville Public Library. She was there as part of the libraries 150th celebration (I feel like this is the wrong word…) of the American Civil War. She was fantastic.
Most people think of writers in the olden way: sitting frantically typing at a type writer, surrounded by the crumpled papers of what the writer views as absolutely unsuccessful text. They sit alone in their tower of creativity writing about the complexities of life on earth, fighting battles that mere mortals cannot possibly comprehend.
This is definitely not the picture that Geraldine Brooks created in my mind. She was funny and interesting, and more importantly, she had lived. Really lived. After college, she spent her life as a foreign ambassador working in poverty and stress filled countries. One continent she mentioned specifically was Africa, and we all know the many perils that African countries have faced in the past 30 years.
She said that this is why she writes historical fiction. She said that part of her job was not just to write about the most horrible things happening in the world, her job, the part that kept her going, was hoping that someone important would read what she wrote and that somehow the world would listen. Listening would then hopefully lead to change. And, ultimately, that’s what the world needs…change.
Now as a writer of historical fiction, her goal hasn’t changed. She still seeks to change the world, one reader at a time.
As a reader, and a wishful writer, I was inspired. She gave us hints into her life, her writing life, and she inspired me to pick up my pen again. One thing she talked about was the importance of words. Sometimes, one word can change the entire feel of a novel, and that one word can be the transporting element that takes the reader to a different time and place. I hope to one day accomplish this for readers of my own. Thank you Geraldine, for inspiration, for hope, and most of all, for helping me remember that one book can change the world..