What Good Is It?

17849“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” ― Aldo Leopold, Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold


Writers, at our best, are intelligent tinkerers. We use everything – every encounter, every idea, every stumble as possible material to explore on the page. For me, this is the spiritual  side to the writers’ life,––everything is material for our practice. In my work with my writing clients and students, I encourage this conversational and exploratory approach to our writing. Stay engaged and in conversation with your topic or theme. There is never, ever a cause to run out of ideas or possibilities. “What good is this?”. . . . find out by tinkering with what shows up, don’t discard even something that is seemingly useless. 

“We shall never achieve harmony with the land, anymore than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.”― Aldo LeopoldRound River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold

Our writing too, isn’t about accomplishments. Ideally, it is about the act of writing, the act of sharing, and the act of participating in the noise of the world. Writing is something we do, an act of vulnerability and courage. At some point we have to get our ideas and stories down on paper and strive to keep getting our ideas down. Then, strive to join the noise of the world by pushing the “send” button and share our words and selves with the world. I enjoy my writing life when I focus on the aspirations and conversations that my topics of inquiry bring to me. When we let go of our attachments and achievements, and stay in the conversation, strive, we will continually be inspired.

What good is it? This is our job to find out.




13 thoughts on “What Good Is It?

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