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Happy Indie*pendence Day.

As we prepare to celebrate the 236th anniversary of our forefathers taking a bold stance against tyranny to separate the 13 colonies from Great Britain, I can’t help but think about how we’ve deteriorated in the literary sense from those early colonial days.  Back then, reading and writing was for the privileged few, but they did it with conviction and excellence.  Kids in those days wrote better than professionals today.

It seems we have forgotten that reading and writing, while now made available to everyone in society, is still a privilege, and one to be taken seriously.  I borrowed the following writing from a friend’s Facebook post referring to the movie Brave.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the lesson that movie offered.  The mother tells her daughter stories, but their not just stories, their lessons about life, as she prepares her for her future as a princess.”

This friend was the valedictorian of my high school class, on the math team with me, got his Masters Degree from Georgia Tech in three and a half years with a 4.0 GPA, has an obnoxiously high IQ, and was named three years ago as Scientist of the Year.  And yet, he still either doesn’t know the difference in “their” and “they’re” or doesn’t think it’s that important.

Now you might be saying to yourself that it’s simply a Facebook post, but what if that’s all future civilizations discover?  What if all the writings of every forefather and literary giant are destroyed and all that remains from our society is Snookie’s Facebook posts, or Paris Hilton’s Tweets?

Or—what if all they find is your writings?  What if your letters, Facebook posts, tweets, blogs, books, etc., are all that is found in the distance future to represent our world?  Would you be comfortable with that? What will they deduce from your writing?

Just look at the letter John Adams wrote to his wife regarding Independence Day:

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

And this was just a letter to his wife, not an official document.  So, as you get out there and celebrate with parades, 4th of July sales, cookouts, reunions, grilled treats, cold beer, and fireworks, have a great time.  But when you write about it the next day, remember, people are going to read it.

Now, as to the way Adams said we should celebrate this day, he was right on.  I’m not sure if we celebrate Christmas, Easter, or Bastille Day in the most appropriate manner, but by golly, as Americans, we nailed this one.

Happy 4th everyone.


Neal Wooten, Publisher/Indie Author/Illustrator/Cartoonist

Managing Editor; Mirror Publishing, Milwaukee, WI, www.pagesofwonder.com
Author of Reternity, www.nealwooten.com

Posted by on July 3, 2012. Filed under Books,Neal Wooten. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to Happy Indie*pendence Day.

  1. Sandra White

    July 4, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I really like this article, Neal–not because I’m a consistently flag-waving patriot (although I feel privileged to live in a country that allows me to think and speak as I wish), but because it “honors words.” I love words. Many times I’ll read something that brings me to tears–maybe not so much because of what it says as how it’s said. I have a card my husband wrote to me on our 36th wedding anniversary, just a one-word message. But if my dwelling was suddenly in flames, that’s what I’d grab before I’d flee–not possessions of monetary value, but a few words left to me by my now-deceased husband–treasured words.

  2. Jodi Fiore, author of Lia-Ria Adventure stories

    July 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Wow Neal! You have nailed it again! As a teacher I have to admit I cringe when I see the mispellings on facebook and even text messages.

    In my opinion, writing is truly a form of art that was more celebrated and honored in the days of our forefathers. Can you imagine if John Adams texted or Thomas Jefferson tweeted? Something tells me their messages would although be short, still be eloquent,powerful and correctly spelled.

    Happy ‘Indie’-pendence Day Neal and God Bless America!

  3. Irma Jacobs Tirro Author of The Lonely Snowflake and It's Almost Friday

    July 4, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Neal, Your words remind me that, at least in Florida, “writing” is being looked at and use of computers is being looked at. Some schools have already purchased equipment so that books can be downloaded and they do not have to provide the hard copy text book. It makes me nervous. Will they eventually conclude that writing is not necessary, just the click of keys?

  4. Rebecca Fronzaglio

    July 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Finally got to sit and check my email. Too full on goodies to move. Great article. You’re right on Neal. How priviledged we are. Free to be me. Free to be an Indie. God Bless America!

  5. Sharon Farmer

    July 5, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Thank you for taking the time to write an article in tribute of our forefathers and others who valued a book to hold in your hand and learn so much from. We celebrated my grandson’s birthday on July 2nd by doing Norman Rockwell’s The Four Freedoms puzzle–Freedom to Worship, Freedom From Fear, Freedom From Want, and Freedom of Speech. I was really impressed that my 30 year-old daughter told Ben that he could not just text thank yous but should continue to write thank you notes via the U.S. Postal Service. In this day of convenient technology, I challenge all families to practive the joy and values only a real hand-written note can deliver. And by using a dictionary, Ben actually knew the correct they’re to write (not their in this case), which Spellcheck would not have caught.

  6. Laura Marlowe

    July 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you so much for this very timely and informative article that is filled with important insight into a subject that doesn’t seem to get enough coverage. You are right, reading and writing are privileges; there are many people that don’t get to enjoy these privileges, or simply take these privileges for granted. As a former literacy tutor, I have seen firsthand the devastating results generated by such lack of opportunity and lack of interest. Thank you also for the historical tidbits you included in your article. John Adams was brilliant.

  7. What an excellent reminder! We really ought to be fighting to keep the tradition of intellectual writing in our futures, and in particular in our children’s futures. As a teacher, I wholeheartedly agree that language today (in addition to our writings) have definitely taken a step back from the colonial periods. As writers and educators we should be doing what we can to leave behind communication that is deeper, for our sake and for the sake of our posterity. Write with conviction!

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