“Dare to Be Great”

by Dr. Larry Morris

On this St. Patrick's Day, I think of the great Irish novelist James Joyce. Joyce was one of the great creative geniuses of our century. He never lost sight of his mission in life—to create great novels. Even as a young man he had tremendous faith and confidence in his vision and his literary gifts. Once when he was living in Paris in a shabby hotel, while he was an as-yet-unknown and obscure writer, he happened to be in an old rickety elevator with two other equally obscure writers. Joyce commented to the other two, "If this elevator breaks down and crashes, what a loss for English literature!"

When his first great novels were published, they were received with confusion and apathy by many of the foremost critics and writers of Joyce's day. They couldn’t understand the new way he was using words to capture the essence of 20th century life. Undaunted by criticism and misunderstanding, Joyce spent his entire life writing a handful of works that are masterpieces of the English language. When we become disheartened by criticism from those who misunderstand us, let's remember the great James Joyce—he never quit or gave up on himself—and neither should we.