After 9/11, much like the sleeping American giant I too became fully awoken to the world and to current events.
And though I’d often find my short temper biting back in heated political debates, writing instead became a quiet outlet through which I could most purely, succinctly, and sharply present my thought-out opinions without allowing opposition to hear only what they wanted (as they did in debate) and respond how they pleased.
In 2003, I penned my first political essay, entitled, Hype and Hooplah.
My first published essay expressed my criticism of anti-war protesters at the time who, I believed quite hypocritically, were protesting preemptive military intended to prevent another 9/11, meanwhile equally criticizing the Bush Administration for failing to prevent the original 9/11:
How can one express their concern over the prevention of 9/11, and protest the very prevention of another event such as 9/11? Hypocrisy.
When I read it over today, the piece is less than impressive. But at the time its importance to me was significant. It was widely read and warmly received. To my most staunch critics, the piece left them quieted and without counterpoint. Their silence, I think, while admittedly somewhat vengeful, was a more rewarding feeling than any outward praise.
Looking back, I also think I found some great satisfaction in the act of lying in wait, in patiently absorbing their unfair and judgmental blows, only to respond, still quietly yet so impactfully as with a strong essay. And from that moment onward, having realized I held some talent with written word, albeit amateurish and undeveloped, I fell in love with writing.
Not only did I fall in love with crafting a crisp, concise, well-written argument that made readers think. I fell in love with their reaction; when my writing made them deeply ponder, or consider and reconsider their predisposed beliefs — if only for a moment. That sensation of reconsideration was enough for me to feel accomplished.
Written Word: Shattering Barriers of the Mind
And so, writing, you see, quickly became more than an outlet used to express myself, or a tool through which I would tell the world I was “right” about something and they were all “wrong.” Rather, I found great satisfaction in writing as the means to open doors of the mind in readers that might otherwise remain closed. I used writing to challenge the status quo, assumptions and logic.
This was not only a great challenge, but a fun one, and one that made my writing worth the effort and worthy of being read. It made writing neither a hobby nor a pastime, but an art form. Writing is beautiful in that every word and every letter exists equally to everyone who uses the language. Everyone is able, but either unwilling or perhaps less capable, of arranging and structuring those letters and words in such a fashion that would turn a canvas of fingerpaint into the Mona Lisa, or a mere rock into Michelangelo’s David.
Unlike with paint, everyone uses language routinely. A writing artist strives to perfect his or her art form by painting common letters and words in uncommon ways. Writing artists develop unique styles with which they construct sentences and phrases, paragraphs and pages, into lyrical poetry.
The Unbiased Nature of Written Word
Writing also holds an influence like no other. Spoken word is potent and powerful, yes, but from who’s mouth the words derive is sure to influence the listener to be more or less inclined to believe in what the speaker has to say. In many ways, the listener has already made up his or her opinion and the speaker’s words, no matter what is spoken, will be used by the listener to further substantiate the listener’s preexisting stance. But a reader speaks another’s written words to one’s self in one’s own voice. Thus they are less inclined to be bias or predisposed to make a conclusion before the piece has concluded.
The Healing Power of Written Word
Written word also, I wholly believe, holds great healing power. The healing power of written word is its ability to pacify insecurity, to quell angst, and to alleviate worries and fear; for when such profoundly personal emotions are recognized by another in written, openly declared on pages of paper and read by the one who is hurting, scared, insecure or lonesome, that patient begins to heal.
In so little as being recognized by another, one’s unpleasant emotions goes from being personal faults to completely justified, from figment of the mind to real — no longer unspoken dark secrets or personal demons, the insecurities become weakened, and real healing can begin. In as little as being recognized by another, the patient becomes flush with relief that at least one other person understands their angst – and if just one does, than many more must as well.
And so, written word is both a powerful tool, and a unique art form. Written word is an outlet, but equally, the means to shatter barriers of the mind — to open doors that would otherwise remained closed and locked. Written word can heal sickness and darkness of the mind. It can assure the worried that their insecurities are rational and justified. Written word can open realms of thought, and feeling, and emotion, and deepness, and peace, and love in a reader’s mind that might otherwise remain untapped.
Why do I write? Perhaps a better question would be, “why wouldn’t I?”