Edds: Words are powerful, give meaning

Devin Edds

Each and every student making their life-determining journey here at Iowa State has something they feel passionate about. This could range from a million different things, such as, agriculture, helping others, or singing. Either way, there is something every one of us loves to do.

In my case, writing has always been both a gift and a curse to me as I’m sure is the case for many other students currently attending Iowa State.

Of course, there are those who struggle with words. There are the students with a form of permanent, life-long writer’s block. They hate writing papers, and they cannot stand to read anything.

I, however, am of a very different breed of person. I get an itch at three in the morning to form words on a page. I purposefully take courses in which I have to write papers because I enjoy doing so that much. This first semester here at Iowa State, I have had the chance to take English 250H through the honors program. This class has opened a whole new realm of writing possibilities for me and has truly shown me that this is where my passion lies in life.

This ability, talent and passion for writing, in my eyes, is a gift because I am able to express myself in such a beautiful way. The way a sentence can come together to affect a person in any given way both astounds and awes me to the fullest extent. One sentence in my mind that always stands out is in J. D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” when Holden attempts to make a phone call and says, “Nobody kept answering.” This sentence is so simple, yet holds such a meaningful purpose. It’s as if Nobody is a person. At first, one wants to believe it is a grammatical error in his vocabulary when, in reality, it’s a statement, a message with purpose.

I find power in words, whether they be a news article, a research paper, a conversation, a novel or a poem. We use words in a million different ways. These words have the power to change lives or simply inform a person on any given topic. Think for a moment about the presidential debates we’ve endlessly heard about lately. These men aren’t speaking just to inform us; they’re speaking to motivate us. The candidates are speaking to appeal to us in any way they can in order to gain our support, our vote.

However, this ability to write can be a curse at times as well. I find myself with the inability to present my ideas through spoken word because I have such a large appreciation and passion for the written word. Often times, I find myself unable to focus on a given task if I have something in my brain I feel must be written about. I feel incapable of fully expressing, understanding, or describing anything to its fullest unless it is written out in words.

“Why is this?” you may find yourself wondering about me.

Well, the answer is simple. I was born to write. I was born finding massive significance in the written world. As a small child, I loved to read anything I could get my hands on. As I grew, I wrote short stories and even small chapter books. During my sophomore year in high school, I wrote my very first ten-page research paper and continued to do so for the following years of high school for fun.

I hold and maintain a passion for expressing myself, my values, my beliefs, my ideals, my thoughts, my dreams and my desires in the world as words. I do this through finding things in my daily life that affect or appeal to me in some way and write out these beliefs that I come to find myself holding over a given issue or situation. I find myself yearning to write. I long for a pen in my hand and the pad of paper beneath. The feeling as ink makes its mark on that fresh, white page.

Such has even become my dream — to write for a living and to make my thoughts into tangible words as something I could make into a career. It’s not that I yearn to be paid for my writing; it’s that I yearn to make something of myself through my writing. I want my writing to make a difference and to have an impact on someone in someway. I wish to change the world through words.

Only at Iowa State has it become possible for me to fully develop this love and passion for writing because of the courses I have selected to take during my time here. In my hometown, writing for freedom of expression or because I held an opinion was usually frowned upon. Here, I am able to express these values and beliefs I find myself upholding without many barriers or reigns on what I have to say.

So, here I am asking you, my fellow ISU students, what is the passion, the dream, the love that you will develop or further during your short but valuable time here at Iowa State?