Ambition & Greatness

David Orr in his terrific book Beautiful & Pointless writes about the ambition of poets. Ambition that can lead to greatness, as in the desire to be great. It has me pondering whether I need either.

Desiring greatness, good for the soul? If I could be great, would I die happier? I think of my reference to reading all the books in the library. Once I would have settled for that before dying.

A new movie of an old book As I Lay Dying  is in theaters. This is a movie that people said could not be done. For this reason alone, I have to see it. Have you, or have you heard any reviews?

The phrase as I lay dying exploits my desires. What will I be wishing for that I left undone in life as I lie dying?  Will I be covertness of undone greatness? Will I care?

In a blog post I read this morning the author spoke to Dear Abby fictitiously. The author desired children and is now past the age of being able.* Would that as a desire fulfilled equate to greatness? Is it ambition?

My desires have become simple. I want to be of help to others and to write. Fifty-fifty time devotion would be acceptable. A lofty ambition? On some days I think so.


13 thoughts on “Ambition & Greatness

  1. jhvn October 30, 2013 / 9:10 am


    What is the desire behind your desire to write?


    • fictionfitz October 30, 2013 / 9:20 am

      I believe I have always had it. Kind of like my desire to eat, but this one needed affirming. A calling?

  2. Carole Webber October 30, 2013 / 11:39 am

    I think that you like pastoring and you like writing. Both are ways to express yourself,both helping others.
    Neither have much to do with death

    • fictionfitz October 30, 2013 / 11:57 am

      Agree with all but the last sentence.

      • Carole Webber October 30, 2013 / 1:20 pm

        What does writing and helping people have to do with death?
        You may be letting the nursing home environment temper your feelings.
        For many who reside there it is the last path, maybe that is why I do not want to go there..
        I want to keep my options available.

  3. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist October 30, 2013 / 4:55 pm

    Greatness in whose eyes? Idi Amin was Times Man of the Year – he achieved greatness, sports people and other people who are highly paid to do their jobs become Australian of the Year. I struggle with this. They have achieved greatness in their profession that they have been paid to do. Far greater people, in my mind, are those that quietly go about their good deeds and helping those in need, not requiring recognition for their acts. They are the truly great and I believe that come their time to die recognition will be given.
    Thanks for your reference to my Abby piece.
    I hope you achieve your 50/50.

    • fictionfitz October 30, 2013 / 6:03 pm

      Good piece you wrote. Liked your thoughts here as well. Anyone who can draw a crowd gets paid well. Maybe you and I are destined to become great writers. Everything else I do I do one on one and I do so intentionally. So no crowds there.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist October 30, 2013 / 6:33 pm

        Even though you write for a crowd they are anonymous, so they really aren’t there. It would be too confusing to try to write to or for this crowd. Trying to please so many people. I shudder at the thought of it. I think I write to one person (someone in my head that I trust and I like) so that the writing becomes in a way a conversation. Then the struggle to put it out there and hope the crowd likes it. But if not, hopefully you have enjoyed the journey.

      • fictionfitz October 30, 2013 / 6:36 pm

        Well there goes the neighborhood. Hate to say again I agree, but I do something similar. The audience is in my head and I please it. If others like it, that’s a bonus. Perhaps money and writing are accidental companions.

  4. New Hampshire Garden Solutions October 30, 2013 / 6:22 pm

    I don’t see poets as ambitous. I’m about as far from a poet as anyone can be but I was going through some very trying times once and the only way I could really find to express it was through poetry, even though I never really liked poetry because I just didn’t get it. Ever since I’ve imagined poets as people who are full of words that have to get out, and there will be no rest for them unless and until they do get out. Once all of my words got out I was done with it and haven’t written a line of poetry since. The thought of being a great poet one day never entered my mind. i was just glad that it was over.

    • fictionfitz October 30, 2013 / 6:29 pm

      I wonder if ambition ruins the poetry for some.

      • New Hampshire Garden Solutions October 30, 2013 / 6:47 pm

        That’s an interesting question. Ambition wouldn’t have fit anywhere in my experience but do people actually set out to be poets, or is it forced on them as it was me? If someone sets out to be a poet I suppose ambition would play a strong part in it.

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