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The King or the People

  "...they may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR FREEDOM!" Mel Gibson in Braveheart (1995)  

     Jill, on Go Teen Writers, was talking this week about the unpredictability involved in "making it big."  You can write flawlessly and still never be a well-known author.  Maybe you didn't find the right publisher.  Maybe you didn't pick the hot topic of the year.  There's a certain elusiveness in fame that has nothing to do with the skill of the writer.

      Her topic tied into one that I have been thinking about lately.  What makes a great leader?  We've all seen the stories...and, on a smaller scale, we've seen it in real life. 

The dynamic leader

The band of men who swear allegiance to him, willing to follow him to their deaths if need be.

It's an inspiring story.  But what makes that leader?  Is it his own charisma?  People cannot help but rally to his cause?  Perhaps he has the skill of the Pied Piper, no?
Or is it the people?  Are they the ones who decide what cause they will rally to defend and what man they feel comfortable following? 

Leaders come in different shapes and sizes.  Some are great orators.  Others are men of action -- "not much good at giving speeches."  Some are strong.  Some are brainy intelligent.  Some are calm.  Some are volatile.  Some are good.  Some are wicked.

I could see how people are the ones to pick the leaders.  Imagine a battle in front of you.  Two men stand up.  One starts a speech.  The other one picks up his weapon and says "Stick with me, men."  Which would you follow?  Do you see how you get to pick your leader?

But, before we decide that it is entirely up to the people, let's look at who they are picking.  All of those leaders, in spite of their different approaches, are indeed leaders.  And maybe the orator can give such a rousing, inspiring speech before the battle that I would follow him?  Or maybe the man of action could convince me with his dynamic attack that he is the best leader for the job.  We are back to my Pied Piper scenario, with the leaders being powerful enough to convince people of their ability to lead.

We could go on arguing this in circles, but we come back to one basic idea.  It's an idea that agrees with Jill's assessment of worldly writing success.

It takes both.

If you are an unskilled author and if you do not pursue the right channels with enough force, your story won't be popular.
But, at the same time, if the people do not let themselves be swayed by your words...if they do not place value on your work...then even a beautiful piece of prose will lie in obscurity.

It takes both.


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