The Sheer Beauty Of It

another English essay; i wrote this one last year. after seeing the topic for the descriptive essay ("The Sheer Beauty Of It") i was inspired (with the prodding of my fabulous sister) to write about something i hold extremely dear to me... and that something turned out to be writing :)

I pick up the piece of paper, glance at the words. They jump off the page, clamouring for my attention like little children, tugging on the sleeves of my heart. I relish the invitation and begin to read, savouring every expression, each phrase. I try to remember if it has always felt like this, if I was born with an affinity for words. I cannot be sure, but one thing I do know – I could not live without them now.

My eyes inch down the page. I love the language in this passage. I love the texture of it, sometimes soft as down, other times wrinkled like the skin of a man who has past his sell-by date. The taste it leaves on my tongue, like the crisp juiciness of a ripe plum or the complexity of bittersweet chocolate, draws me in. I can never seem to have enough. I am hungry for more, anxious to swallow words and sentences whole. They are my ticket out of the mundane, my doorway to other sights, sounds and times. The author draws a scene out of thin air, like a magician. This piece is his favourite rabbit, his best trick. I am entranced.

As my eyes travel slowly across the page, digesting metaphors and personification, I think of what words mean to me. Just the word (word!) sends shivers down my spine. Prose invades my dreams, taps me on the shoulder and spins me round in dizzy, joyous circles. I feel it floating around my head; I am almost sure at times that if I reach my hands out, I will gather these words to me in a never-ending embrace. They have become a part of me, the very essence of who I am and why I am here. Some would say I have fallen prey to them, that I am trapped in a web of nouns and adjectives. The difference, I tell them, is that I love my captors.

Words are rainbows, different hues in each syllable. I fancy myself and all writers as artists, painting pictures with our pencils. The finished product is not something simple; it is often borne of pain and frustration and crumpled sheets of paper thrown into the corners of rooms. Colours run together and palettes run dry. But even this holds a certain charm, a fragile beauty, in knowing that hard work has gone into the making of the masterpiece.

The words on the page are once again jostling for my attention. Drawn back in, I marvel at the author’s use of comparison and at the tender way he strings the words together, a jeweller making a necklace of incomparable splendour. Each phrase sparkles with the eloquence of his thought; combined as a sentence, they make the word remarkable whimper and hang its tail between its legs, ashamed that it cannot begin to describe the power they have.

As I read the closing thoughts, there are many other things in this piece that remind me of the wonder of written language; but only one still resounds in my head, needing to be heard, and it is a selfish thought. Reading this work of art has made me realise that I am drawn to writing because only when I write do I feel truly whole, truly beautiful… and that, for me, sums up the sheer beauty of it. I close my eyes, put down the sheet, and savour the lingering taste of language on my tongue.

The End

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