“I don’t want to dump on TV, but there’s no doubt that our language has been changed by television, especially by the media, which tries to manipulate us into being consumers. Most of the time nowadays we human beings are referred to as consumers.
What does the consumer think? What does the consumer want? How ugly. Forest ﬁres consume. Cancer consumes. I want us to be nourishers. To be a librarian, particularly a librarian for young adults, is to be a nourisher, to share stories, offer books full of new ideas. We live in a world which has changed radically in the last half century, and story helps us to understand and live creatively with change.
… You are very special lights in a frequently dark world, and we need you.”
– Madeliene L’Engle in her acceptance speech upon receiving the Margaret Edwards Award: American Library Association Lifetime Achievement Award For Writing in 1998.
I love this speech for many reasons. My mother is a retired librarian, and to me libraries are magical places, places where I can hunt for surprising and comforting works of words. And librarians are kind souls, eager to point you towards those magic words. Very rarely do I meet one who fits the caricature. And, L’Engle, well she is just fascinating. Honestly, I want to hang out with her in heaven.
These words were spoken for librarians, but will you take them to heart today? You are not a consumer. You’re a soul.
And if you’re a writer, you’re not writing for consumers. You’re nourishing souls.
And, friend? You are needed. Keep up your hard work. You. Are. Needed.