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February 2017

How to Make an Impact

The most prevalent goal for writers and artists is to make an impact on the world around them.

When you fall in love with a film, find yourself entranced by a book, or realize you are transfixed by an art piece,  you feel as if those pieces of works have impacted you in some way, yes? When this happens, artists have met their goal. The overall point of making art, after all, is to “make an impact;” everyone wants to be assured by the fact that their passions contributed to the common good, as well as to the emotions of a common person.

To make an impact, as many people put it, means to leave a legacy that grows for years and stems into life. A legacy means, in a metaphoric way, “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”* It is lasting. It is pure. It is alive.

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Impacts on the Community Versus the Individual 

So how does one successfully “make an impact?” Well, there is no wrong or right way. However, some people focus their goals on making impacts on the community, or on the individual.

Some may claim that, by teaching children in a public school, they are indirectly contributing to society and are therefore making lasting impacts on the youth. Furthermore, some may say they want to directly contribute to society by relieving the impoverished, and will therefore make an impact on families and the economy.

Some, however, may simply want to create art or string together words in order to make an impact on the individual. They may want to write books that describe foreign places, that invoke emotions in the reader. They may want to write a poem about their own feelings in hopes that someone else can relate. They may want draw or paint on a massive canvas in order to appeal to the audience’s visual senses.

Whatever your goal is in life, if it makes the world a better place, you’re making a positive impact. A community or individualistic approach serves to benefit society and will, most times, establish legacies that grow into the future.

If you have any comments on this article or would like to share your own impact-oriented goals, feel free to comment below. Have a great Thursday!

 

*Quote by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Why “Carpe Diem” Isn’t What You Think It Is

Hello, everyone! So while today’s topic may not directly discuss writing, I would like to share with you a flaw I found in a popular literary expression.

The Latin phrase carpe diem, or seize the day, first originated in 23 BC within the first Book of Odes, authored by the Roman poet Horace. Today, the phrase carpe diem serves as a sort of mantra, one that encourages humans to embrace every moment they are given. Seizing the day, or seizing the moment, is something many people acknowledge and strive to do; it is important to grasp the present and soak in every drop.

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However, while we are familiar with the first half of the translation which tells us to “seize the day,” we often neglect the second part, which essentially tells us to mistrust the future. For instance, the complete translation of carpe diem is to “seize the day and put very little trust in tomorrow.”

But shouldn’t we trust the future laid out for us? According to the full translation, does seizing the day mean ignoring both the future and the past due to uncertainty? Due to cautiousness?

Everything in life is chronological. Even books have a beginning, middle, and end, and therefore also have a past, present, and future. Everything is intertwined, bound within the volumes of life. So why should we mistrust and set aside entities that are so integral to life itself?

The past and future should not be ignored. In fact, they are impossible to ignore; the present is what binds time together and makes us who we are.

While the phrase carpe diem might seem like a positive string of words, you may want to think deeper before ingraining it into your mind; you may inadvertently be casting aside both your past moments, and the ones to come.

So, yes, seize the day. But don’t forget who you are in the process.

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