Stories inform every part of our lives, both in the short and long-term. Each day the stories of who we are, where we have come from, and what our hopes and dreams are, build the motivations for our personal journey. The language of stories is diverse, fictional, realistic, mathematical, religious, political, scientific, absurd, comedic, tragic, etcetera. There is a potential language for every individual concept or idea about anything. We use letters and sounds to paint a web of glorious descriptions, expressions, depictions, of the experience of living and the importance of extending beyond the boundaries of our own bodies and brains, to reach out and connect with the infinitude of others that surround us. In this way Storytellers have and will always entertain an integral position in human society. Margarette Atwood is a master writer and one of the greatest ever, and she is still adding to the wealth of culture, even now in her late 70s.
Born in Canada, in the capital city Ottawa, she grew up having lots of exploratory experiences as her father was an entomologist and she travelled with him around many forests in that region. At the young age of 6 she was already writing, creating plays and poems, beginning what would become a prolific career. There are specific titles such as The Handmaid’s Tale or Alias Grace, which are commonly recognized as classics. Though, Atwood has accomplished great works in almost every type of written format: Poetry, prose, speculative fiction (essentially sci-fi), short stories, graphic novels, TV scripts, children’s literature, E-books, Non-fiction, even as an opera librettist. Throughout each of these areas of her expertise, she has added to the development of feminism, the Canadian Identity, and the future of literature.
She holds 24 honorary degrees from various universities, which is funny because it wasn’t until she was 8 years old that she began to go to school full-time, and while pursuing her doctorate at Harvard, did not complete her dissertation. Along with the innumerable awards she has received, her works have been adapted to film and other mediums, spreading out all over the world, becoming a universe unto themselves… the Atverse! Not only has she been such a powerhouse in literature, but she has also been involved in inventions, creating the LongPen, a remote robotic writing technology, developed and distributed by Syngrafi Inc. of which she is still a Co-founder and director.
Through Atwood’s life, she has striven to contribute both culturally and politically, always speaking out against what she saw as unjust and unfair. Individual works have been icons for others, but she hasn’t stayed hidden behind her works, but has stood out in the spotlight to make arguments against issues to do with Canadian/American relations, Feminism, and the Environment. Whatever the challenge, she has risen to it, and has become an inspiring and exuberant model of success.
Author: Jonathan M. Bessette