Since the beginning of time, we as humans have always had this innate desire to feel a connection. Connection – in the sense of having others relate to what we are feeling emotionally, physically or mentally; or in the sense of having a relationship with others, sparking inspiration and wonder in the world around us – even inviting people into our own secret world.
Recently, I have become obsessed with the contemporary author John Green; more specifically, with his globally recognized work, The Fault in Our Stars. Yet, in the beginning, this oh-so-cliché romance novel turned movie seemed so unappealing to me, even as my peers would go on about how “changed” they had felt from the novel, and how they “would never feel the same way again!” Of course, my curiosity then got the best of me, and I eventually gave into all of the hype. Needless to say, I’m glad I did. Not because of the charming quirkiness that the love interest Augustus Waters had, or even the dry wittiness with which the main character Hazel Grace Lancaster narrated the story (although I did in fact find some resemblance with my own dark humor). It wasn’t even because of the actual story itself. It was because of the love that these two characters had for one another. This is what changed me. How I wanted to have a love that could change my hard, sarcastic exterior and let out my softer, vulnerable self. Green allowed readers to feel this love with the characters, which is why so many people could relate to it in some way or another.
What does a New York Times Bestseller have to do with why we has a culture write? What I mean is that people write because we have a desire to feel, reflect and connect, and writing allows us to vocalize that desire into the words which we could never truly express with speech.
Take Shakespeare, for example. Here is a brilliant man who wrote some of the most iconic works of all time, and has shaped literature to what it is today. Yet, it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I realized what the essence of understanding Shakespeare was. Quoting Julius Caesar, “The fault dear Brutus, lies not within our stars, but within ourselves” allowed me to listen to what Shakespeare was trying to say, how we are in control of our own destinies and no other outside force is culpable except for ourselves. Shakespeare demonstrates that implicit in why we read is the same basic yearning and drive for why we write: in this case, to share our own self-discovery with others, and hopefully, to help them discover something about their own selves.
Here is why we write: We write our own self discoveries and emotions onto paper, only to want and have others rediscover this about themselves. Most importantly, we write to help us understand the circumstances of our own predicament, one that everyone else is in – life.
So if this is why we write, then this must be why I write: when I write, I want to be able to have an effect on people – I want them to feel something – whether it is something small like writing a letter to a friend and seeing them react to my words or a paper being taken into consideration for a Pulitzer Prize, (a girl can dream) I know words – good words – can have an effect on people and the world. I want my words to make a dent on the world. This belief, this idea I hold dear, is a trait and ideal that I want to instill in my future students. They too, can make an impact with their beautiful and unique thoughts.