This is Not the End

I told a friend a couple days ago: “There will be somedays you walk out of AP Lang hating the world, the society we live in, and everything to do with it. [You will want to cry – curl up in bed and hope that the next day dawns a more kind, just world.] Other days you will walk out of AP Lang and the world is suddenly so beautiful all you will be able to do is say, “Look at those clouds!!! And that tree!!! I mean, just look at it!!!” All that is good, and necessary,” I told my friend.

I am serious. I walked out of AP Lang a few times crying (and by a few I mean possibly once a week), unable to do anything but quite literally gnash my teeth and head to Physics. Most of the other days, I walk out happier than I walked in. The clouds look new, like God placed them in the sky, right out of her palm. Surely, poetry is the most logical answer. Surely, with literature in my right hand and compassion in my left, I can conquer all the hate.

Alas, literature doesn’t always solve the problem. And compassion is a long, long road to healing.

But literature does succeed in closing the gaps between male and female, Caucasian and African, new and old, big and small, me and you, us and them. Literature builds bridges. It connects us in ways that we never imagined; it makes our brains compatible. Suddenly, once and for all, you are speaking my language – words, sentences, and paragraphs. A salve for the wound, our brains, and dare I say souls, have met in the indents of your paragraphs and the stanzas of your poems. All your thoughts are now made plain to me – how beautiful, I might say, or how convicting. Thank you.

That said, AP Lang has challenged me in countless ways. It has opened my eyes to the hurt around me through reading and writing that I had never found before. It has taught me to write – at least a little better, I hope – to make a difference. It has taught me that sometimes, it has to be more than the thought that counts, my words count too. AP Lang has taught me that there are other successful forms of writing besides the fragments of mine I call poems.

Most of all, AP Lang has taught me that writing is indispensable and important because it intentionally and unintentionally changes lives. Keeping that in mind and heart, we must be careful with our words. We never know where they might lead.

 

I Just Want to Cry a Little

In Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, he proposes that all media is a form of entertainment. The sole purpose of television shows is to amuse you and seduce you to come back for more. All news becomes merely interesting, inconsequential with no context, and not worthy of “weeping.”

I have a problem with this ‘not weeping’ thing we have convinced ourselves of. You see, I am fond of crying. I cry a lot; it might excessive sometimes (or most of the time) but crying is just part of me. I think crying is a worthy past time though. I am able to feel the pain going on around me. I cry over it and sometimes I see a little clearer.

There is plenty worth crying over. People die everyday because they do not have water or food. People die in suicide bombings because they think that is how to fix “it.” People die on the other side of guns “to create peace.” Trees die everyday because we have made the air unhealthy for them. Animals die because we cut down trees. These are reasons to cry.

They are not reasons to lose hope; they are certainly reasons to weep and hope to see a little clearer.

Making amusement our form of communication has desensitized us to the pain and the problems that exist for us to change. That is where I think it is, to some extent, ruining society. Our news shows inform us of the tragedy then we move on to…the sports! We are prone, or rather forced, to forget about the tragedy, or tragedies, in the wake of the more fascinating, comfortable creations of a privileged society.

If entertainment becomes our one-and-only, we can liken ourselves to adults who never grew out of their spoon-fed-infant selves: dependent on the powers that be, we have no control over what feeds our mind and soul.