When I was young, I had always seen reading and writing as a given. From the beginning of my educational journal, the art of words and sentences had been placed in front of me with the expectation that I would learn to decode and understand what was assigned. I think back to preschool, Ms. Kelly peeking over my shoulder as my wobbly pencil traced over the light gray alphabet. I could feel my brain strain as I worked over the second curve of the lowercase “m”. At 5 years old, I thought nothing of this practice; it was merely another worksheet that came across the table. I assumed it was just a part of life, a skill that every human was inevitably taught. At a young age I was unfamiliar to the power of language and the role it would eventually play in my life. I was oblivious to the forming flame.
As I entered the higher levels of elementary school I had no interest in finding the subject and the verb and the direct object. Honestly, I found English and literature quite boring. In my mind language took the form of sentences thrown across a black board awaiting dissection. I did not understand why it mattered or what their use was to fifth grade Christina. My English papers would be quickly completed, with no thoughtful input. Why should they? Their only future was to be scanned over by Mrs. Burnes as she absentmindedly marked grammar corrections with her pink pen. The message did not matter and I had no message to give. Therefore, they were each completed as quick my pen would allow and were thrown aside in a red folder waiting to be uncovered at a later time; these later elementary years dwindled my inner flame.
With entrance into high school, an interest began to develop as I was introduced to creative writing. This style of language re-sparked a flame that has only grow since. With creative writing my thoughts began to leak from my mind onto the paper, blue ink spread across the page. Curiosity blossomed as I began to recognize that every word carried a distinctive connotation and denotation, and that the words an author chose were no accident. Throughout freshman year, my eyes were opened to distinguishing positive and negative words, along with the effect each held on the writing as a whole. At this time, my mental fog began to fade as I realized each word I chose carried meaning and worked to make the overall piece strong or weak. Sophomore year taught me the power of punctuation and word sequencing. My writing matured with the use of varied punctuation and syntax. Paragraphs and papers formed within my brain, becoming dynamic and attractive to the ear. My mind became fascinated with the sound of words strung together to sound like a poem. During the summer leading into junior year, I read advanced essays and novels. With each read, the once white margins took on scribbles of blue and black ink, circles and underlines, comments and questions. At the time, I did not realize these annotations and interactions with the text would add gas to the fire lit within in my soul for language.
I believe high school has opened my eyes to the power of reading and writing. Throughout my childhood, I had taken the privilege of language for granted, in fact I had never seen it as a privilege at all. I was inattentive to the magic of words and the freedom to offers while one captures his or her thoughts. It has become a freeing practice in my life since becoming aware that I, too, can create meaningful work.
Today, when I connect with a phrase of words I will jot it down and highlight the section intriguing my mind. I now hold a list of passages on my cell phone. Each time I read through these pieces my soul reattaches and I am reminded of the timeless hold a person’s writing can have on my heart.
Language continues to be the thriving flame within me.