Our words have the ability to affect and touch people all over the world.
It’s a Small World
By Marilyn Mackenzie
When I sat in my back yard cherry tree as a child, I wrote stories and poems about the things in my small world, about the things of nature around me and about my own family and friends. I never dreamed that what I would one day write might reach out to the world. Back then, the only way to have our writings reach the world would have been to become a world-renowned best-selling author, with translations in many different languages.
What I wrote as a young child was probably not very good. A few months ago, my mother sent some of the poems I wrote back then to me – things she'd kept for many years just because her eldest daughter had written them. My childish poems about my parents and siblings were typical of a nine or ten year old kid. I thought all poems had to rhyme, and although I'd read many poems, I'd not yet studied the construction of poetry. I didn't know anything about meter or rhyme. And my vocabulary was limited as well. My poems had a sing-song tone to them. But my first attempts were truly written from the heart.
I don't remember sharing my writing with many people as a child, although I did often write poems for my family. I made cards for them for special occasions and inserted original poems inside. Whether I did that because I thought I was really creative and talented, or if I just didn't have the money or opportunity to shop for "real" gifts, I'm not sure.
Notebooks, diaries and journals were filled with my childish thoughts and attempts at sharing them. But most of those early writings were only shared with my very closest friends and relatives. I certainly never imagined sharing them with a larger world.
As a teen, though, I began to realize that I had a bit of talent. Our final exam for eleventh grade English was a composition, which amounted to half of our grade for the last semester. Today, I don't even remember what the imposed question and topic were, but I do remember sitting for that exam.
I remember being pleased at the topic, and I remember how the words flowed steadily from my pen to the paper. When I finished, the composition was only two written pages. I checked it quickly for spelling and grammar errors, then turned in my paper. I was the first to finish the exam, and the teacher frowned as I turned in my paper.
Mrs. Baker asked if I didn't want to take more time. She questioned whether or not I had clearly and completely organized my thoughts and presented them. She asked me if I didn't want to expand my thoughts, since the paper was only two pages long and my handwriting was rather large.
I told her I was quite content with what I had written. I left the room with a smile on my face. I had no other exams that day and was able to leave school early. As I walked home, I knew that my paper would receive at least a B grade, if not an A. I was convinced that I'd done well.
When my grades arrived in the mail, I wasn't surprised. My final grade for that English class was an A, meaning that I'd been right. I had received an A for the final exam.
It wasn't until a few weeks into the next year, my senior year, that I ran into my eleventh grade teacher. She smiled, then quietly took my arm and steered me from the hallway back into her room. There in her desk drawer was the paper I had turned in at the end of the previous year. She showed it to me, and told me that my exam had been the best ever presented as a final paper for eleventh grade in the history of the school. Pretty great accomplishment, considering that the school was old enough that my parents had attended there.
I asked if I could have the exam back, but she told me she was using it as an example in her classes. I asked if I couldn't make a copy of it, but that never happened. I wish I did have that paper, because it represents the very first time that I wrote something and walked away content and proud of what I'd written. That was the first thing I'd written that ended up being shared with so many outside of my own circle of friends and family. Mrs. Baker shared that paper with hundreds of students that year and in years to come, I've been told.
As a high school senior, some of my poetry was published in some obscure magazines. As a college student, more poetry and stories were shared with even more obscure publications.
Today, though, what I've written, what each writer here, or at other writer’s sites, at e-zines and web sites have written, has the ability to be seen by people all over the globe.
One particular article I've written has certainly crossed the globe. It’s been published in some small publications in the US, Australia, and Nigeria, as well as numerous web sites and e-zines. Today I received a note from a new friend in Egypt, who was touched by something I wrote.
I really haven't meant this to be a bragging session about my accomplishments with words. Rather, I've meant it as a wake-up call for us all, a reminder of how many people's lives can be touched by words that we've written. Our words have the ability to affect and touch lives all over the world...whether they are stories or poems or words shared in a discussion area.
As we share ourselves here, we must all remember that our words are not being viewed by just a small community of writers and friends. Our words are being whispered and shouted and shared with people of all colors, sizes, shapes, races, and belief systems, all over the world.
How humbling it is to know that something we've shared might be just what someone else, who lives in a far distant part of the world, needed to learn, hear, discover or have reinforced.
Each day, each year, our world becomes smaller and smaller. And the words we share can be seen and read by people we will probably never meet, people who may live different kinds of lives than us, but whose hearts and souls are just like ours.
To my new friends all over the world...welcome to my words. (And might I suggest you sit a spell and get to know some of my other new friends...other writers here whose stories touch my heart each day as well?)
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer anyone." Colossians 4:6 NIV