The Written Word

What is it about the written word that draws us to it? What is it that makes so many of us, myself included, dedicate our entire lives to understanding it, to honing it, to refining it like never before. Why is it that, no matter how hard we try, there's just something magical about seeing things in black and white that we can never capture when just talking or even watching.

Simply put, there's just something in the permanence of the medium, something special about being able to hold the words in your hand, to touch them, to feel them, to see them and to be able to preserve them for all time that gives it an added boost, even if just a moral one. That's why we, as a society, separate libel, defaming someone in writing, from slander, doing so orally. It's that inherent "added value" that ones words get when they're put down for all eternity, a value we all understand, even if just subconsciously.

But even then we seem to fail our precious words. So many of us either can't read or simply don't use the knowledge they have, letting the written word and all of its understood power just go to waste. It's heartbreaking to me to see many people, intelligent people, scared to even pick up something as simple as a newspaper or a magazine. We have a whole society of people, too timid or too lazy to visit their library or even the vast volumes of literature on the Internet, instead favoring television, radio and other, more digestible means of entertainment.

Though the spoken word and the visual mediums are powerful in their own right, to let the written word fall by the wayside is a tragedy of the highest order. Without it, we'd have no history, without it, we'd have no unified language and, without it, we'd be hard-pressed to carry on anything like a normal life.

But more than that, the written word opens so many doors. The volumes of literature and knowledge never before converted to visual or audible media lay dormant, waiting to fill the minds of those with the heart and patience to seek it. Volumes of research is waiting for you, encyclopedias of knowledge are at your fingertips and millions upon millions of stories are waiting to be read. They're laying there, waiting for you, challenging you to read them.

And that, my friends, is why so many have shunned the written word. It is the medium of communication that challenges the receiver the most, challenges him or her to take the time to read the words, interpret their meaning, form images within their mind and draw understanding from the simple page. That, in turn, is the hidden beauty of the written word, from mere marks on a page images can be created, characters can be born and new worlds can be given life.

That's why I've never seen myself as a writer as much as I have seen myself as a painter or a creator. With words as my medium, I strive to create images, define characters, convey emotions and tell stories. As any writer will tell you, this process is more than simply placing words on a page the same as creating a work of art is more than flinging paint at a canvas.

This is why we must open ourselves to the importance of the written word, not for myself or for our children, but for the countless men and women that have come before us, meticulously creating words and ideas that were designed to leap off of the page and into our minds. The worlds they have to show us, the things they can tell us about ourselves and the projections they have on the world around us are too valuable to let slide. For them we must thrust books into the hands of children, for them we must pick up our newspapers and magazines and for them we must balance our entertainment, let ourselves be challenged and open ourselves to new ideas.

Because, in doing this for them, the artists of the written medium, we open ourselves up to so many things one can not comprehend. A universe, more vast than all of the galaxies in ours, lies sandwiched between dusty volumes of books. If we that world free, the possibilities for our own are literally limitless.

And that, my friends, is what draws me to the written word. More than the permanence, more than the tangibility and accessibility I crave to discover the lost magic, the magic of creating images from words, ideas from sentences and making something where there once was nothing. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I know I must keep trying until the ideas and characters I pen are just as alive as you and I today. Because in contributing to that dust-covered universe I hope to someday contribute to the one we live in now.

After all, it's my hope that man will eventually answer the challenge of the written word. A hope that I fear will never come to pass…

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8 Responses to The Written Word

  1. Gina says:

    I just want to say that I love you're insight, and you're writing is amazing. I write myself and I hope to learn to be as skillful as you are. I have asked myself and others many times why the written word holds so much power. On the first day of one of my literature classes in college, a professor asked the class what literature is and why some works are classics and last throughout history. I responded by saying that it's just like any other type of classic work of art, except using words as a medium. Although that was a simple answer, this rant of yours explains both points so eloquently. Thanks for all the good writing!

    P.s. I'd like to request more warlock stories, I love the game of human chess!

  2. Mike Price says:

    Shit dude bad ass site! you write like god oh wait you are god! I would love to get to know you and how you learned so much. I consider myself an intellectual and a writer as well but damn your shit is off the charts! sorry i felt like talkin in gangster/surfer tone tonight please forgive me

  3. Matt says:

    Great rant. Hardly a reason to post however; in the first sentence I think you meant 'What is it about the written word…' rather than 'What is it about the spoken word…' I could be wrong though.

  4. Raven says:

    Matt – Good catch, already made the fix. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. Maggie says:

    I'm young. Really young. Anyways, it's true. I love reading. I like getting in another person's life, reading about them finding out about this person. Like amking a new friend. I see so many kids at my school abandon books and turn to TV, making the mistake thinking that actors and rappers don't read. Awesome rant!

  6. eternally bleeding says:

    the written word will never die no matter how much you think it will it won't as long as we still have artists as good as you campaigning for it…

  7. DarkOne says:

    I'm only 16 I love reading. Once I start to read I can't stop until not only have I finished the book but the entire series. I see my family and everyone sitting around watching TV and they say they wish they could read as I. But I don't get it, they have the power to read just as much as I do. If only they'd turn off that TV and open a book. Hell, if they don't have a book I have over 300 in my room and theres a library in town. Maybe I'm just different than them… considering they are not my real family, that could be it. Reading was all I had a few years back and it was the only thing holding me together… keeping me a person and not a hollow shell. I didn't know how to read until I was in the 6th grade (i started learning in 4th but in 6th i could read on my own) maybe thats the reason I love reading because I know what life is like without books without being able to read. I love writing too. I'm not the best writer in the world but i do write, mostly poems and i just started writing a book. Writing for me is how i let out my feelings and also a way to look back over other things i've written and say see i've been though worse I can make it through this.. I loved your Rant. Your a great writer, Raven.

  8. Virginia says:

    The written word, in the form of poetry was a god -send while I was recovering from a nervous breakdown years ago. I began writing poetry of my own at that time and it was a wonderful, private kind of therapy.These days I am more drawn to a happier type of poetry, but back then the darker, deep calls to deep , poetry helped and thank goodness it was there when I needed it.

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