Words Worth Fighting For
From as early as I can remember, I have always loved to read. I found within books the ability to relate to someone…or something far above my own understanding. I had joined a new world in which I could be friends with so many unique characters who would not judge my “crazy imagination,” but embrace it and encourage me to dream on. Yet, at seven years of age, I began desiring something more. My favorite works were now coming to an end and I now wanted to capture my own inspired quests by attempting to write. I use the word “attempting” due to the fact that every time I was faced with an empty page I could not get my thoughts down on paper. This was not for lack of ideas or inspiration, but because I approached it with the misconception that great writers simply place their pen on a blank page only to have an entire sea of magical words automatically surge forth. When this did not happen for me, I became extremely intimidated.
It was not until I experienced a rigorous day of being bullied for my use of a big vocabulary that I finally understood how to begin my writing journey. I had become so increasingly upset in regards to how I had been treated that I suddenly began writing and writing, anything and everything, without thought or care of being perfect. The more I wrote the more liberated I felt and became. There had been an immense amount of emotion locked away inside me which was now bursting forth from its haven in my heart to be set free. Then, I suddenly realized…those same bullies, who had exerted every effort in halting my voice through their own intimidations, had given me a new manner of speaking—writing!
In reading over what I had written, I also began to recognize why I had been unable to write before. It was not about my plot, for I clearly knew what I wanted to write. It was that I wanted it to be absolutely perfect. As long as I sought after perfection, the words evaded me, but in writing freely, the words could come easily. I realized that though “what” I wrote was important, “how” I approached it was just as vital.
As I have gotten older, this lesson continues to shape my perspective in regards to my writing. Though I now realize that writing uninhibited is a special tool which allows one to harness a wide variety of great thoughts which you might ordinarily dismiss, I also understand that critique is important as well. Appreciation of criticism (if given from one who wants to help you succeed) is very powerful for it helps you face both the positive and negative realities about your work. It is not only the foundation for improvement to be made, but the provider of an expanded insight into your writings. This understanding provides one with the freedom to reach past a page full of words and grasp the stars.
When being faced with a difficult situation, have you ever wanted to escape? My challenge to you is to use your writing as an outlet to do so. Think about “why” you are writing. Are you afraid, angry, or simply overcome with sadness? Rise above these circumstances, be uninhibited, and allow yourself to become empowered by conveying these emotions through your writing. What you write does not have to be a journal account of the situation you are going through. It can be an entirely fictional story, but allow those same emotions that you have when dealing with your hardship to come through in your writing. You can be exploring the tomb of an ancient Pharaoh, traveling to the Amazon jungle in search of some exotic species unknown to man, or be becoming the greatest detective of all time. Just use your own emotions to emphasize how your characters would feel when presented with certain situations. Dare to be inspired...
Note: I have stories in which I have created my own fictional characters, but have attached a small sample of my writing in which I have attempted to shadow and show tribute to one of my favorite authors, Sir Conan Doyle
THE PROBLEMATIC AFFAIR OF THE MANOR HOUSE PHANTOM
The lean, eager face of Sherlock Holmes gazed at me from his stance behind his chemical table, his air once again concealing his preoccupation with another case. “Watson, would you care to divulge your opinions regarding supernaturalism?”
“I beg your pardon?” As usual I stood somewhat puzzled by the odd question posed to me and could not help but blankly return his gaze.
Nervous excitement and agitation shone over the features of my friend. “Ghosts, Watson, or would you prefer the term ‘spooks’?”
“Really, Holmes!” I exclaimed.
Holmes’ eyes sparkled in fervent anticipation and enthusiasm, “What do you make of them?”
“What do I make of them?”
“For pity’s sake, man, what do you make of them? Do you believe such things to exist or not?”
I realized I had never given the issue much thought now that I had been forced to answer such a question, but as it was more than apparent by my friend’s actions the problem’s significance I tried to render an answer. “No, I don’t believe I do. What are your thoughts on the matter?”
“Being that I have not myself experienced anything of that nature, I could not entirely produce an explanation as to supposed ‘ghostly’ occurrences myself, so it would be difficult to provide an answer.”
“Then you believe in them?” I was shocked by his remark.
“No, quite the contrary, I am merely pointing out the fact that I have not been exposed to anything on that level. Being there is no physical proof as to the existence of such phenomena; one can only hope to elucidate the matter with the aid of science.” Holmes extended a cablegram to me with the following words, “your assistance is requested concerning a delicate matter of the supernatural.” “So, Watson, it appears a matter of the most intricate situation has presented itself.”
“Intricate indeed,” I mumbled. I could not help feel a slight glimmer of sarcasm at Holmes’ innate ability to decide in advance whether a case would prove to be worthy of his attention or a useless waste of time. If our places had been switched I would surely have dismissed the case with a laugh and kept about what I would consider more “important” business. Perhaps, my disdain was not directed at my friend, but more at myself for my lack of perception. For this reason, I suppose I am more at home and shall I say more qualified among bandages and syringes than I would be placed behind a magnifying glass.
“Ah, there is our visitor now! Watson, would you be good enough to sacrifice the comfort of your chair?”
Holmes in his research had cluttered all means of relaxation with his study material and so I had no choice but to give up my seat. However, there was no time to remonstrate as the door opened to reveal the figure of a medium sized, middle aged man with cynical features. “Mr. Holmes, I presume?”
“Good morning, Mr. Elam Pinkerton, or rather good evening. I received your cablegram. Dr. Watson has been good enough to surrender unto you his seating rights so if you would care to sit down.”
“Thank you, Mr. Holmes. I hope I have come at the proper time,” the man’s face twitched severely as he spoke. He paid no heed to my companion’s beckoning him to be seated, but rather stood, his dark brown eyes casting darts of suspicion in my direction. His eyes eventually shifted from their gaze of repugnance on me to that of Holmes’ clutter which he then observed with disgust. Moving ever so slowly, he seated himself.
Tension was apparent from every view of the man. The jerking of his features persisted, yet despite this apparent nervous strain he was able to articulate his words with tremendous calm which set him apart as a man of great intelligence and social bearing. “Mr. Holmes, It would sufficient to say that this stands to be a matter of somewhat ignominious contents and the utmost discretion is in dire need,” his face contorted into the most hideous scowl as he made eye contact with me once more.
Holmes chuckled under his breath, “Could it be, Watson, that there is one soul in the world who has not read your journalistic accounts? Mr. Pinkerton, I have become accustomed to Dr. Watson’s assistance as you would have known had you read his work. You insist he leave. So if you would permit me, sir, to say your case must be of little importance to you and me if you should choose to force his departure.”
Our visitor hurriedly switched his gaze elsewhere. “So, it must be. However, Dr. Watson, I do not grant permission for you to tarnish my family’s name with your ‘accounts’.”
As could be expected I had grown quite agitated at our guest’s rudeness and dearly wished I could escort him to the door as I was growing quite irritable myself, but a sharp look from my friend shattered all hopes to do so.
Mr. Pinkerton’s thick, claw like fingers clutched at his cane until his nails shone white. “Mr. Holmes, I left no name on the cablegram, would you be kind enough as to divulge how you knew my identity? I have never met you before in my life.”