Note: This was an Assignment that I did in my college English class. This has been posted on my facebook page, as well as my tumblr. I just wanted to put that out there. Now without further adieu, I present my narrative on reading and writing.
I agree with Mark Twain’s remarks on reading, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.” Simply put, The person who knows how to read, but doesn't read good books is just as bad as the person who doesn't read at all. I think that if you know how to read, then you should be reading good books. A person who reads good books becomes more knowledgeable and they are bettering themselves. In my nineteen years on this planet I’ve learned that the saying “knowledge is power” is one of the truest statements out there. The more I read, the more powerful I become. At least that’s how I like to look at it. It really gets you motivated to read when you tell yourself that you will become more powerful after finishing the book.
I also like being “in the know.” Even when I was younger I liked being “in the know.” Whether it was Billy ate a bug at recess, or America is going to war in Afghanistan. I liked to be on top of things. Sadly when I was younger I grew a great resentment towards reading. The elementary school that I went to never made reading fun. I was told to “post” when I read. Basically, what I had to do was use post-it notes while I read. They told us what we needed to look for, and to make notes on the post-its, and stick the post-its in the book. I wasn’t very fond of that idea. First of all I didn’t like the color of the post-it notes. It just wasn’t my kind of yellow. Second of all it took all the possible fun out of reading. I didn’t want to stop to make a post about some literary element that I didn’t care about at the time. I just wanted to read my book and that was all. When I refused to post I got in trouble with the teacher. It just made reading troublesome. So I stopped for awhile.
I regret not reading more when I was younger. I would have been more “in the know” if I did. I also would have a better vocabulary. But I can’t go back now. The only thing I can do now is read more. I started reading more during my senior year in high school. I began by reading The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer by Philip Carlo. I read about the life of a serial killer. This was a very well written book. The whole time I felt like I was cheering for the killer. Killing was the man’s hobby. He was also a much more interesting character than the police were. Now normally, I wouldn’t support the killing of anyone. This book however, made me think otherwise. Killing suddenly became interesting and thrilling. (from a readers point of view) You were put into the shoes of the main character and killer “Richard Kuklinski.” At the end, Richard dies and I shed a tear. Can you believe that? I shed a tear for a serial killer. This man was said to have killed over 200 people. Not once did I shed a tear for any of those people. But I did for Richard. Some may call it crazy, but I call it good writing.
I kept on with reading. As my beliefs changed, so did the books on my shelf. No longer did the Bible remain by my bedside as a book of truths. Instead it remains elsewhere in my room, no longer representing truth, but fiction. I became an atheist. I grew interested in atheist authors. I began reading books written by people like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Douglas Adams. My world began to change for the better. I was entertained and enlightened by Douglas Adams and his genius sense of humor and skill with the written word. Thanks to Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, I became more knowledgeable when it came to religion. It allowed me to come out on top when debating believers of the invisible man in the sky. This was when it became clear to me that “knowledge is power.” Reading gave me the power of knowing. I used that power well against those who were not at my level of knowing.
Reading had transformed in my eyes. What had once been boring and seen as unnecessary had now transformed into entertaining and absolutely necessary. As reading transformed so did writing for me. Writing to me used to be something that I had to do in order to please the teachers. I had to write whatever they wanted me to write. I had to do it well enough so I could get a decent grade. I noticed that the more I read, the better of a writer I became, and once again I had become more powerful.
Writing has become incredibly important to my life and dreams. The way I write will shape my life, and it will effect whether or not my dream comes true. I want to become a stand up comedian. There is nothing I want more than to get paid for making others laugh. I have always believed that laughter is a gift. A pleasant gift that one human gives to others. To be able to supply a crowd with a healthy (or even better, an unhealthy) amount of laughter would be incredibly satisfying and rewarding to me. Writing allows me to put my ideas together so I can make people laugh. So I can give them that gift. So I can brighten their day and mine. How well I write will determine how successful I will be. I hope to excel at writing so I can become more successful, and of course, more powerful.
The power of the written word is something that I still have trouble completely grasping. Words are incredibly powerful. They influence the way others think. Words can be used for good, or for bad. They can be used for personal gain, or to entertain. They can be used to inform and enlighten. If you are the one who is writing, then you control what the reader takes in. You are driving the spaceship, and they are going to be tagging along for the ride.
I continue writing to this day. I use it to get better at stand up comedy. I use it to express my opinions. I use it as a way to escape into a world that I created with my pen. When I’m writing, I’m god. It’s just that simple. Now it may seem like a contradiction to talk about being an atheist, and then say that I’m god. Some may even say it’s crazy. I believe they have a special place for people that call themselves gods, and that’s in the loony bin. However, that’s not the bin I belong in, and neither is it for other writers. See when others write they become gods as well. Writers create characters from the ground up. They put their characters in a setting that they also create. They also decide the destiny of their characters. You see, writing is as close to godliness as anyone will ever be.
Reading and writing hold a great importance in my life. I wish that I had seen the light earlier, but I guess now is when it decided to turn on. I’m going to use that light to make myself into a better person. I wish other people would pick up a book or a pen once in awhile, but not everyone wants to better themselves. Some people like to be lazy. I used to be one of those people. Now I’m always kept busy.