The Art of Language: More Than Just A Couple of Words

When I was younger, my mother used to race around the house with several books. She was always out of breath. She was running after me trying to persuade me to read these unimaginative books. I did not find it of vital importance to stick one’s nose into a book and read about concepts which were unimportant and quite tedious. It was just a couple of words, a couple of meaningless words. I always wondered why words were even created. Why did we need to communicate and learn about specific subjects from books? Why did we need to learn how to properly write? How were a couple of words going to supposedly impact someone? How were words going to change the world? All these questions ran through my mind as a child, my mother was definitely not the only one running. I speculated upon many manners of language for I always thought that reading and writing were unimportant, however, as I grew older, I learned that a couple of words were not really as weak as they sounded. I learned that a couple of words can change the world if they wanted to.

At the age of seven, my mother had me writing these fantasies. I wrote ten pages about a certain cinderella. Oh, how it was exasperating! I took the papers I had written and slammed them against the blank wall in my living room. I was infuriated. Why was I writing stories that would never come true? I was writing about a whole new world, a world that I would never be able to live in. It was a utopian world where the broken heart was easily mended without the legacy of a scar. It was a world that would never be. An article that I read recently by Vladimir Nabokov stated that, "The reader must know when and where to curb his imagination and this at his disposal". I was lacking in that part. My imagination was covered by a black clothing of closed-mindedness, I could not escape it at the time, but then I did. I was forced to attend a minority children’s reading. They were also reading and writing fantasies but they were not infuriated, quite on the contrary actually. They had the biggest smiles in the world and the sun was shining upon them. These were unfortunate children and these fantasy stories gave them a certain hope for the future, that perhaps their lives would become better. That night the walls of that facility heard more prayers of hope than the walls of the churches. After all, those couple of words really did change something. I started to appreciate those couple of words.

At the age of seventeen, I started watching the news. The massacres of Christians in the nation of Egypt started to sever. At the same time, there was a genocide occurring in Sudan(the region of Darfur) and with the Yazidi people in the mountains of the far Middle East. I had recently learned in depth about the Holocaust. I was interested in learning why people did not do anything to stop these genocides or what really happened during that time. I decided to buy a Pulitzer Prize winner book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Because it was such an interesting book, I stuck my nose it. I loved history more than anything else. This book by the former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, demonstrated the power of communication in a time of international disaster. A part that struck me in that book is the part pertaining to Henry Morgenthau. Morgenthau was the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I and one of the most prominent American political figures to publicly speak out against the Armenian genocide. The Armenian genocide was taking place during the war when Turkish soldier were deliberately slaughtering all Armenian christians in the perpetration of ethnic cleansing. Morgenthau had no idea that this was happening until several letters and pieces of writing were sent to him. I want to note that during the time, it was illegal in Turkey to confess that the Turkish were killing people or you would be sent to prison, yet all those people in Turkey were risking their lives sby writing a couple of words to the ambassador to help stop the genocide. These couple of words awakened Morgenthau to talk to private sectors in the U.S. to help the Armenians and indeed this was done. The Armenians were aided in their time of trouble. I would like to think that these couple of words saved a couple of millions of people. Words can change the world. They have more meaning to them than it sounds.

The same year, I challenged myself. I entered a contest where I was required to write a poem with a colleague of mine that would be entered to the Hamilton Musical cast to be read and either chosen as a winner or not. I wanted to represent Elizabeth Schyler in the poem. I looked through all the articles written concerning her. I wrote down my thoughts, all of them. In another article it is advised that "writing your reactions down helps you to remember the thoughts of the author". I am glad that I was able to write down as many notes as I did because I was then able to coherently apply them to my poem. My colleague and I did not describe Schyler as she was described in history but for he she was as a wife and a woman. Our poem won the vote of the Hamilton cast. We performed our poem on their stage in February of 2017.

Although I still find some writings to be unenthusiastic, I learned how to curb my imagination a little more. It is of no doubt that I still struggle but when I do, I try to create my own world and apply the reading to it to make more sense of it. I regret having an initial thinking that a couple of words in a book would be meaningless. Words can have an impact and still do continue having an impact. Reading is important because you learn to become aware of multiple aspects of life. You learn to appreciate life and you learn many things. We become less and less ignorant when we read more because when we read we become conscious. There are things that can only be expressed in writing and that is what makes writing powerful. The art of language will always be more than just a couple of words.


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