I just returned from the 2012 Young Author Conference in Thief River Falls, Minn., where I was reminded that each of us has an unequivocally unique perspective to share. More on that in a bit.
I’ve presented at this conference with other creative people from the region for around five years now. It’s a favorite event, and twice I’ve brought a child along; one in the age range of the kids who attend the event.
Beth was my lucky road-trip partner this year, and I loved having her near.
We shared some hearty laughs, especially when I read random entries from my 8th-grade diary out loud the night before the presentation. If that isn’t a humbling experience…(!)
She joined me and the other students in grades 5 to 8 Tuesday morning to learn what it takes to be a published writer, helped me carry books and kept the technology moving along smoothly. Her presence allowed me to share another piece of my life with the attendees.
The keynote speaker started us off in the gym. Heidi Grosch and I have crossed paths at other children’s writer events and I enjoyed her talk on the topic “Uniquely Said.”
Heidi is a Minnesota gal who immigrated to Norway. She now lives with her husband there on a tree farm overlooking a fjord. Aside from tree farming, she knits, writes a column, sings, blogs and teaches kids in Norway a love for words. Her enthusiasm has traveled across the ocean. Our loss is Norway’s gain, yet somehow, it feels as though Heidi has never left. She’s got part of herself planted in each country.
After sharing some of the things that make her unique, Heidi attempted to show participants that they, too, are unique. Each person on the earth has something to share and in a way no one else can.
She asked the students which of them knew a foreign language, and called them down one by one if they did until she’d collected about ten students. One knew Japanese, another Chinese, another Norwegian. Spanish, American Sign Language, Korean, German and French were also represented. Everyone said “Hello” in the language they spoke.
It was just one way she brought home the point that we are all, each of us, unrepeatable. The same story can be told over and over again, but each person that tells it has a different perspective. Therefore, the story will be different.
This is good news. It means that even though there are only so many ideas to go around, there are as many ways to tell these stories as there are grains of sand. We will never exhaust the possibilities if each person focuses on his or her unique perspective.
To me, this is exhilarating. It opens wide the possibilities. It gives everyone a voice and purpose in this big world. And it minimizes the need to compete against one another.
On the way home, traveling through Ada, Minn., Beth and I saw a taco stand that we’d noticed on the way up but hadn’t had time to properly investigate. We just had to stop and get a photo. And in order to justify that, we felt we should buy something. So we shared what they called an “oof-ta” taco (we know it as an Indian taco), gobbling it down in no time flat.
I would call this a rather unique eatery, wouldn’t you?
It was great to get out on the road. The colors right now are stunning. Rich greens and deep blues met us all along the way.
Being reminded of our unique purpose was energizing. I hope it inspires you this week, too.
Q4U: How does seeing your perspective as unequivocally unique change your purpose?