The Power of the Written Word (a tribute)

Writing has always been a favorite pastime of mine. While growing up I always had a journal. Sometimes it would take me years to complete one volume, and other times I wrote so much that I filled two journals at a time. (One in school and one at home) I remember having sleep-overs and reading over past journal entries with my friends (mostly about boys) and then writing new entries and attaching photo booth pictures of us to that page. I could write anything I wanted in my journal and then forget about it and move on. It was very therapeutic at the time. Now I can look back, and in a moment, I’m in the feeling. I’m in the moment when I wrote those words. I don’t know if I would remember a lot of those little things, if I didn’t write them down.

The times in my life where I’ve learned the most, are the times when I’ve kept some sort of written record of what’s going on. I know without a doubt that writing helps me to articulate, clarify and solidify any little thing that’s going on in my mind. I was reading over a fairly recent journal entry today, and realized that writing has helped me to accomplish my goals. When I write down goals, and have a solid idea of what I would like to accomplish, (weather I refer to that writing often or not) I am able to stay focused and remain determined until that goal is complete. Once I write it, it becomes part of me.

Blogging has introduced me to a whole world of people who like to write. Blogging for me is a form of communication and self expression. It takes a lot of daring and inhibition to write for someone other than yourself. The kind of writing that’s most valuable is written with passion and no thought as to what someone else might think of what you’re saying. It’s written because you feel it, because it’s a part of you. Anything truly great comes from inside. It comes from a surety or a lesson or something you know intimately.

Historians draw a distinction between prehistory and history. The difference between the two is that history is defined by the advent of writing. I’m sure that the reason prehistory is called prehistory is that we don’t have a record of what happened back then. I hate to think about what we’re missing out on. I’m a sucker for history. I love to read the history of my family and of the founding fathers of America. Our nation has a history rich with inspired men and women. We are not left to figure things out as if they had not lived. We can build on their knowledge from day to day. One of the very things that enables this democracy is our ability as a people to understand and use the written word. Because we read and write, knowledge is not entirely dependent on a social class.

Technology and society would not be where it is today, if we didn’t have records to build on. Because of that ability to continue where those before us have left off- with a record of their pasts we have exceeded all expectations of the past and are discovering new technology at an amazing rate. Those who are destitute today, have some luxuries that even royalty of the Middle Ages never dreamed of. We don’t have to rediscover knowledge with each generation, nor do we have to know someone with specific expertise to learn. Our newspapers, journals, documents, essays, books etc. give us knowledge that surpasses that of those who have gone before us.

Writing and reading have had so much power and influence over my life and over the history of the world. (forget about the prehistory) I thought it fitting to spend a little time trying to describe it as it applies to my life and the lives of others in this day and age.

AND NOW…

An up close and personal time line of my experience with reading, writing, and books:

  • My dad loves books. He has a zillion of them- I’m not exaggerating!
  • People reading in their own little corners of the house was a common scene on a Sunday afternoon.
  • When I was 2 or 3 I memorized books that my parents would read to me and said, “Look I can read!”
  • When I was four I went to Read Write Preschool. I learned letters and their sounds. I could barely wait to get home from preschool to read the two and three letter words I was learning to my parents.
  • When I was in kindergarten I would spend hours sitting on my grandpa’s knee reading him books by Dr. Seuss and the like.
  • When I was in Elementary school I would memorize poems by Shell Silverstein.
  • When I was old enough to read a novel, I would spend hours reading in my room instead of cleaning it.
  • When I was a teenager I expressed my emotions through poetry and writing. I learned to put together a story. I also learned to be critical of my own writing. From that point on, I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote.
  • I never realized that I liked to write until I had to write a story for a class in high school. Thank goodness for that English teacher!
  • Of course, reading and writing played a huge part in my education. I don’t thing we’d even have schools without them.
  • Now I blog. 😉

 


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