Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. Would Tweet

I don’t remember Martin Luther King Jr. very well. I vaguely recall him speaking download.jpgMLKon TV and I clearly remember the collective sadness when he was assassinated, though some of that was undoubtedly influenced by the assassination of Robert Kennedy two months later. (In my child mind the spring of 1968 was all about public weeping).

While the man wasn’t part of my little girl world, his beliefs and words were. And since January 21st is Martin Luther King Jr. day, I thought I’d share a few MLK quotes that resonate with me as a writer.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” It applies to so much in life but it sure applies to a life in the arts. Writing that first line, dabbing that first swirl of paint, picking up that lump of clay requires a tremendous leap of faith.

Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” This quote reminds me of my neighbor who passed away unexpectedly last year. Ron was a mechanic, one of the best in the city. Retirement didn’t stop him either. On days when my words wouldn’t flow, I’d look out my window and see Ron in his driveway tinkering with a wrench and being the best he could be under the hood of a car. Humbled and inspired, I’d go back to the keyboard to do whatever best I could muster in that particular moment.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Much of what I do for others is private and not something I care to share (I don’t get why some are public about their good deeds). But one thing I do for others publicly is write. I write so people will be moved or informed or entertained. (And sometimes I write so Teen Freud will remember to empty the dishwasher or companies like Dearfoams will replace the two-month-old slippers that are already falling apart). I also write to get paid; it’s how I make my living. I like to believe there’s honor in that (see middle quote). But sometimes I spend too much time in the ‘how am I doing?’ loop and forget that this whole thing isn’t about me at all – it’s about the readers.

Which brings me to the last MLK quote: “We must use time creatively.” I’ll bet you money that if Martin Luther King were alive today he’d be on Twitter. And probably Facebook. For sure he’d have a website. He was a smart guy; he’d recognize the power of social media. But I doubt he’d spend hours tracking his progress or checking his likes or counting his retweets. He’d be too busy doing for others, doing it well, and having faith.

Don’t you think?

Article written by

By the time she hit Grade Four, Laura Tobias knew she wanted to be a writer. So did the teachers. It was the persistent daydreaming and invisible friends that tipped them off. Since Laura grew up knowing no writers – and consequently didn’t know how to be one – she became a journalist instead. The trouble is, journalists are expected to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But making stuff up is way more fun. So Laura traded one notebook for another and today she writes romance and women’s fiction. She lives on Vancouver Island with a pair of Shetland sheepdogs, her high school sweetheart (Mr. Petrol Head) and her son (Teen Freud). She’s also the award-winning author of 15 books for teens and children writing as Laura Langston: www.lauralangston.com Also find her at www.lauratobias.com and occasionally at twitter.com/Laura_Tobias/

7 Responses

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  1. Bonnie Edwards
    Bonnie Edwards at | | Reply

    I am just enough older than you to remember Dr. King a little better. An amazing man in a rocky time. When Bobby Kennedy was killed I woke in the night (to me anything past bedtime was middle of the night) and heard my mother say from the bedroom: “They got Bobby, too.”

    In my child-mind, “They” were the same terrible people who’d taken Dr. King and even though I was not even American all the news at the time was devastating and so very dark.

    I am so happy to have lived to see this inauguration today. It’s a good reminder that in spite of the ills in the world, good people still stand up and make their lives count.

    And now, I must do my small bit to bring a little happy to people who read my work…and get back to it! Thanks for a wonderful post!

  2. Laura Tobias
    Laura Tobias at | | Reply

    I couldn’t help but think of Dr. King as I listened to today’s inauguration speech, Bonnie. Progress has been made – not as fast or complete as some would like – but it has happened. As for me, all I can do is make my corner of the world shine. And keep writing.

  3. Rachel
    Rachel at | | Reply

    What a wonderful, thoughtful, thought-provoking essay, Laura. Thank you so much.

    1. Laura Tobias
      Laura Tobias at | | Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Rachel!

  4. EC Sheedy
    EC Sheedy at | | Reply

    I love the way you connect things, Laura. I see your writer’s brain as a web within a web–and a place where everything makes sense in the end.

    Love this quote: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

  5. Laura Tobias
    Laura Tobias at | | Reply

    Let’s hope it all makes sense in the end, EC! And I’m with you on the faith quote. That really resonated with me.

  6. Gail Whitiker
    Gail Whitiker at | | Reply

    An excellent post, Laura. It does indeed make one wonder what MLK would have done with the social media available these days. The message would only have gone around the world that much faster. A noble man, and a well written and insightful blog

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