The Immortality of Ink

Writing has been the most comfortable and artistic way I have found to communicate. Naked words, vulnerable and bold, show one’s honest voice; and stripped of confusing colloquialisms that often plague our ears, writing offers a rare clarity and permanence in a confusing and temporary world. I have come to feel at home when I’m writing; a time to quietly be alone with my reality and my imagination enabling a wonderfully intrinsic contrast.
I have come to discover my greatest passion through a series of twists and turns in my life. Expression through writing, the power it holds and the beauty it can articulate, has allowed me to define my voice. My grandfather, the first man I ever really understood, died of pancreatic cancer several years ago and it wasn’t until his death that I realized through heartbreak, the inspiration of love and the power of the written word.
From as early as I can remember, my Grandfather was there; hidden softly in the background marked by his gentle humor and occasional anecdote. I can vividly remember the frequent visits he and my Nana would make, packing their car to the brim with toys and smiles that only genuine love could produce. I was a typical toddler, excited for their visits, not necessarily for their company, but instead to see what new toy car I would be adding to my tremendous collection. It went on for years, until one weekend in the brisk April air of 2005 it all stopped.

My father quickened me into his car as the two of us made the trek up to my grandparent’s home on Long Island. I knew my grandfather was sick, but for some reason I insisted on masking it with a naïve optimism, no doubt a subconscious mechanism to get my mind off of the grim truth. The very last time I saw my grandfather breathing life was that weekend. I was twelve years old. He was sitting in his favorite red reading chair, the whites of his eyes polluted with shots of yellow-green as his body began to raise the flag of surrender. I extended my hand out and he shook it wearing that soft, mysterious smile as he always did. I turned and my father closed the door.

Two years went by, I was fourteen now and it was Christmas Eve – I had already begun my high school career, and while everyone around me was smiling I felt utterly lost. My family and I went to my Nana’s house for the holidays, a place I hadn’t been in some time, which I came to find featured two distinct parties. In one room, the adults drinking cocktails and hobnobbing, discussing politics and matters that I had no interest in and in the other, screaming, crying, resilient infants. I headed downstairs to be alone for a bit and collect myself. I was looking at the walls filled with old pictures of my father along with some articles my grandfather had written. He was a journalist, a profession I had deemed humdrum and uninspiring (for reasons I couldn’t recall). However, looking at the number of articles he published I thought to myself how busy and talented he must have been. Just as I began to leave, a big-framed article entitled, The Day I Forgot To Hug My Grandson caught my eye. I paused to read it. It was about me, my Baptism to be more specific.

The article began as most do, a general synopsis of the event and details about how beautiful the occasion was, but the bulk of the piece was his unique experience at the reception afterwards. Tucked away in a small T.V. den, he was charged with the task of watching me and, inevitably, the Giants game. The story emerged from his guilt — here he was watching television and saying a quick hello to the infrequent visitor (presumably someone over the age of forty who darted in to grab a pretzel and then slink out) then quickly getting back to the game — all the while forgetting me. The truth is, he never forgot to give me a hug; he hugs me every time I read the article.
The piece hit me in a way that he or anyone else ever did; he was a natural journalist, a man who most effectively spoke his mind with a pen. That day when I first discovered the article, I finally understood his soft smile.

That cold Christmas Eve night two years after his death, my grandfather taught me more than anyone else has. His writing is so clear and so innovative that his voice lives on and it always will. I have found myself to be inspired by him; to take risks, and not be afraid to explore my thoughts and write them down. There is a magic to the inked word, and while we live in a technologically advancing world, the truth is that like the framed articles on my Grandfather’s wall, words on paper will always last. It is my hope that, like my grandfather, I too, will write.





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