The Cultural Columnist

An analytical perspective to the news and experiences of the everyday

The Power of Language

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I would first like to apologize for my absence from blogging. My excuses are that my semester ended a couple weeks ago, I got a C in one of my classes, and it’s the holiday season.

So now that I enjoyed some of my break, got over that C and enjoyed Christmas time with the family, I have had time to miss writing. And in this time that I have not written, I have consistently come back and pondered the thought of why I love writing.

As I got lost in my thoughts, I remembered a journalism professor during my freshman year told me that “to be successful in journalism, you must be a master of language.” This is one of the first lessons that have stuck with me about the value of the written word.

In journalism, which assumes the responsibility to be a “window” of the world to the people, bears the task to carefully choose the words to define and communicate the events of society. Because the role of journalists is to present facts in an objective, unbiased way that does not reflect the opinions and thoughts of the writer, but solely for the purpose of informing its audience. Consequently, journalists inherit obvious expectations and pressure with their responsibility to choose the most accurate and appropriate words to present the facts shown through that window.

Although this pressure intimidates me quite a bit, it fascinates me more. Because although it is difficult, how admirable would it be to reach such proficiency with words—to become a true “master of language”?

[Now, if you have read my About the Writer: Kimberly Avalos page, you may know that I do not want to be a reporter, but this pressure still applies to me very much as a writer and should any writer.]

My writing journey has been a long one. In middle school and high school, before I even knew I liked to write, much less was any good at it, I used to look at essays as somewhat of a vocabulary test on the most formal and intelligent-sounding words. I’m laughing at the memory. I stumbled quite a bit as I REPEATEDLY formed awkward sentences and misused words as a result of always turning to my old friend, thesaurus.com. I’m laughing again. I worked on that a little towards the end of high school and like to think I proved some potential. That potential was definitely a driving factor in choosing a major.

When I got to college, I met one of the most influential figures in my short lifetime. It was a writing composition class, and my professor was nothing less than an expert. Among many valuable lessons, I learned the value of pathos, ethos and logos. They are credibility factors that evoke emotions, character and reason. My writing lacked this very much because I was focused on what words I chose and not so much on what I really wanted to say.

I could get into detail about the slow progress of my writing but, in general, with this professor and my journalism professor, I learned that language is a powerful tool, but is fueled by the content it symbolizes. How beautiful is it, and truly an art form, to be able to translate your thoughts onto paper—to communicate your ideas to your readers with language?

Whether it is trying to document occurrences in society as one does in journalism, or write down an idea, or communicate an emotion, whatever—it is so powerful to perfectly express and project your thoughts with words to an audience.

All in all, I have learned that writing is not easy. It’s actually very, very hard. But I will quote and coincide with author Dorothy Parker at this moment, “I hate writing, but I love having written.”

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