Not Just Words Just with Words
I wrote a creative writing piece with the intention of expressing the power of words, rhetoric and publication. The goal of the piece was to research the eternal life of ideas and their ability to outlive their creators. To add some finesse, I wrote the piece through the perspective of a pencil who’s identity is revealed at the end. I wanted to be as dandy as possible and use universal examples all readers could relate to and understand considering the idea of a pencil being a source of power, let along an animate object, was already too much to swallow. However, I hadn’t realized how classicist and contradictory the piece read until now; and I’ll tell you why:
I wrote “Every outline, discovery and idea began with me. A long time ago, I sat in William’s study and helped him write Romeo and Juliet;” “Van Gogh adapted me, and I became his greatest apparatus;” and “I crafted this planet. I wrote history and declared the new world before Christopher did.” Have you noticed that men are prominent sources of genius in our society? I definitely did, hence my use of Shakespeare, Van Gogh and Columbus as credibility of a pencil’s source of power. Clearly, an idea can be edited by the society it visits. They then dwell in the legacy of a misrepresented history to back up present day ideals. For example, Columbus’ discovery of the “new world” was actually a visit to an old world, but “discovery” and “new world” sound pretty awe-inspiring, don’t they? In this case ideas can outlive their creators but they are altered to suit the systems of present day, which allow their sources to be celebrated falsely. Our public sphere has an incredible opportunity to reconstruct sources of genius to ensure that they don’t appear misogynistic and patriarchal.
Then I use clichés and sweeping generalizations like “The pen is mightier than the sword.” In this cliché “mighty” is interrupted as noble. Sure, the pen is used to write history but the mind behind the words can use it to discriminate and discredit while the sword slits your throat as quickly as possible. Not so noble now, huh? Censorship has a lot to do with the fact that the writer’s voice isn’t frozen in publication. The generation in control has the ability to edit out what they believe is unnecessary and keep whatever statements can back up their ideals. Some offensive clichés become socially acceptable because of it is believed that they are desymbolized by their overuse; for example the idiom “The blind leading the blind,” which is actually an ablest statement to which our society completely ignores.
Okay, then there’s this statement in the piece that I agree with and hold dearly. Words and rhetoric have the ability to dance so well together that they can manipulate you. Words do have power but the people behind them have more: Dead or alive, or even if the words were never said, our society blindly gives power without research. For example, Marilyn Monroe was never a size 14 but so many girls blindly worship her for her “plus-size frame.” Words, idioms, and clichés have a misrepresented history that we all have been completely ignorant to. Our culture embraces misrepresented sources with open arms and closed eyes; I never realized my perspective had been manipulated until now. The foundations of life and its history may not be as factual as we think; in a bad game of telephone stories can be miscommunicated. So, do we have control over the duality of words? How do we ensure that truth is frozen in publication instead of lies? I also wrote “It’s difficult to imagine a world without me as I have worked with the notable and the heroic; the people who composed the foundations of life as you know it; from music to vehicles on the road.” We really have to sit back and consider that our human society could be resting on a foundation where history and fairytale are kin.