“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”
I have always been a lover of history, so much so that I often wondered about those who recorded the events. Who were they? How did the events they wrote about affect them? What was their ultimate goal as historians? As I take the time to reflect on them and the enormous task they accepted, I wonder who has received the torch to illuminate the future for those to come?
In The Beginning…
The Holy Bible is one of the first sources of recorded history. Would it exist without a writer to pen its contents? Where would we be without it? It is an important part of the history of humanity, and for some, it is the manual for life. Nevertheless, the writers scrawled through wars, famine, flood and the changing of time. They took note of everything we needed to know so that we may not always remain as a child. Due to the efforts of these historians, this book is the oldest and the most read book on earth. The contents of the Holy Bible will be shared until the end of time and will be a record of history for future generations.
Fast Forward 30 Years.
The year is 2046, a 17-year-old teenager desires to read about his ancestors or the events of long ago. What will he read? What story will we tell? Who will be the great composers of history? Was the information accurately recorded? We as writers can ensure positive answers to these questions. Some may say, that teenager will have the ability to find all of his information from online news and other media sources. My question in return would be, are you truly a writer? While this may be true, these events still need to be recorded in the written word. History does not write itself; someone must take the time and effort to pen its events. Actual writers have a story to tell; we have a need to be read and to make our mark on those around us. Why not leave an impression that lives for generations.
As a young girl, The Diary of Anne Frank gave me the ability to travel more than 30 years before my birth. Her heart-wrenching yet entertaining memoir recorded a harrowing time in history. The Complete Poems of Robert Frost offered me poetic insight into his thoughts, feelings, and view of love, life and the world in 1949. In 1912, James Weldon Johnson wrote, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. His autobiography not only made literary history, but it is also an American classic that paved the way for African-American writers like Zora Neal-Hurston, Richard Wright, and, one day, myself. Doesn’t that young child of the future deserve that same benefit? I think they do!
So much has transpired just this year alone, and we can only imagine what’s to come. Are you documenting the state of the world as you see it? If not, why? Are we solely relying on journalists and social media to pen the incidents of today and the days to come? There are many stories to be told and many points of view from which we can collectively share it. It is our duty as citizen writers to play our part in reporting history. Not for the sake of ourselves but the sake of our descendants. Are you ready to accept the torch in front of you? Every time you pick up your pen or pound away on your computer, you are empowered to write history. For those of us who wish to own that responsibility, we are the historians of the future.