Friday, July 04, 2008

Home of the Brave

What come to mind when you think of the Fourth of July? Among the many answers I get from my weekly creative writing group, freedom and independence are always popular responses. We have gotten so used to exploring these common themes around the Fourth of July that the writing exercises lose freshness; they begin to all sound similar and familiar.
This year was different for me. I spent a lot of time this week with someone I consider to be very brave, which got me thinking about that quality that our national anthem proclaims we're all supposed to have. I've done a lot of thinking on the subject and I have more questions than answers at this point.
What makes a person brave? Is it something we're born with, or is it developed through circumstances? Can a person who isn't brave learn to be brave? Being brave is likely to lead to bigger challenges where more bravery is required. How do you measure bravery? If being brave is going to lead to bigger risks, how do you overcome that fear? People who are brave often have their thoughts focused on something bigger than the fear, which supplies the energy to the bravery. What do you do when the fear is bigger than the bravery?

1 comment:

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...


Excellent questions and worth chewing on for a while. One of my favorite quotes came from editor David Kopp in a workshop at a writers' conference. He actually got it from a friend of his. It has stuck with me for years. It goes like this: "Lord, make me brave, much braver than this." I love that and in some ways it's a theme of mine, mainly because a lot of the time I don't feel very brave.

So when you come up with some answers to your questions, let me know!