I Write
Anna Chumbe, Division 2, 12th grade #ws17e-s1d2

Deep within my innermost soul, I have always known what defines me. I am an artist. I have an artist’s soul within me. Ink and passion flow through my veins like blood; the divine streak of inspiration lies in my soul’s fingertips. I write. It is my word of power, “write.” It sets me apart because no one writes like me. Writing is mine: my craft, my skill, my gift. No two pieces of art are alike, just as no two artists are the same; and though millions of artists use the same words, language, and tools as I, not one of them uses them as I do. My writing is what makes me myself -- a unique being -- for a writer does things no two people do alike.

Can you see what I see? Look at a tree. Though we both may see it, how do we see it? I see the tree’s sap, its golden life blood, run in glittering veins that branch throughout the tree like wrinkles upon skin, like lines on book pages. I see the sap flow, like golden ink, to the heart of the tree, forming itself into glowing words, shining phrases, golden sentences: the tree’s life story. And I see the tree finally open up to surrender its legacy, its trunk splintering into millions of soft sheets, of paper pages of golden story, flowering into one gigantic bloom that blossoms from the tree’s heart. One day, new stories will be inscribed upon that flower’s living pages in another’s life blood -- the writer’s ink. In a single tree, I see a thousand stories. What do you see? No two people see alike. We see the same things in different nuances, colours, and lights. Even if I were to paint for you, with my words, such vivid scenes and characters that you would leave this world and journey into another, the world you would see would not be mine but yours. No matter how stunning and bold the detail of my description, no matter how shining and precise my words, I write in black ink, and therefore all I can ever give you are mere outlines. It is your imagination that credits them with colour. See, the craft of the writer is not to make you see what he can see, but to help you see what you can see. And that is exactly what I do differently from the rest of mankind: though I write my stories for the world to read, only I can see the story as I first envisioned it. And only I could have written it in the first place.

I will tell you a story. Far away, near the beginning of the world’s history and in the middle of obscurity, lie the Islands of the Craftsmen. Thousands of master artists live there. They practice and polish their skills all day, weaving, carving, writing, rehearsing -- pursuing all the arts you can imagine and a few more besides. When they are satisfied with their work, they go onto the golden beaches to sell it, and villagers and voyagers alike come to buy their beautiful labour. But it is a peculiar circumstance that, in the long history of the islands, among thousands of artists and millions of art works, not two pieces of craftsmanship exist that are alike. Each artist sings a different song and tells a different story. Though human existence is six million years old, the story of each human is always a bold original. We are crafters of our own life songs, writers of our own unrepeatable stories. Not one of us is but a copy of another. When I write a story, I am unique. When I write a story, I am stand out in bold italics; I am Different with a capital Difference. The way I craft my characters, decorate my scenes, direct my plot, and give my story meaning are all things that no one else could conceive or plan -- not in my order, not in my colours or imagination -- and not in my words.

Words. My first love. Before I could read them, their secret mystified me. Before I could write them, their stories enthralled me. When I finally learned to decipher their meanings and was initiated into their wonders, I held their power in my fingertips, little dreaming of their full potential. Words: my first love and my life’s passion. It is in the realm of the written word that I really stand out as different, for no one uses words as I do, just as no one uses words as you do. Words are an extremely personal form of self-expression. There are as many uses for words as there are words in the English language. I use words to conceal and to unveil, to record and to forget, to heal and to blood let, to create worlds within worlds within worlds; to dream with. I use them to put my heart on paper and watch it pulse, to let ghosts of imagination speak and laugh and take on flesh and colour as characters in my stories. Yes, millions, even billions of artists have done this before; but no, not as I do it. No one except me can ever capture my thoughts and imagination and stories in my own words; no one can put my soul on paper but me.

Everyone has their talent which sets them apart. For me, it was always the gift of the pen. Writing makes me different, and it always will. I will never be just another in the crowd. Though my story here is finished, it is just beginning, too, for where one story ends, another continues. As long as I have letters, paper, and ink, I will be unlike any other human who writes their story in man’s history book. I will be me.
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