As part of their language arts curriculum, my fourth graders learned that there were four main reasons to write — to persuade, to explain, to inform, and to entertain. The writer had a purpose, and conversely, the reader has a purpose in picking up a certain book, article, or pamphlet.
However, I don’t think those are the only reasons. I also write to make a connection with others, and I read for comfort.
This week I’m reading Maya Angelou’s Letter To My Daughter. It’s been a very challenging week (health-wise), and when I read this passage I indeed was comforted.
“He said, ‘First write down that I said write down and think of the millions of people all over the world who cannot hear a choir, or a symphony, or their own babies crying. Write down, I can hear – Thank God. Then write down that you can see this yellow pad, and think of the millions of people around the world who cannot see a waterfall, or flowers blooming, or their lover’s face. Write I can see – Thank God. Then write down that you can read. Think of the millions of people around the world who cannot read the news of the day, or a letter from home, a stop sign on a busy street, or … ‘ ”
Maya Angelou received those instructions from her voice teacher and mentor, Frederick Wilkerson. It was one afternoon’s lesson that guided her from then on.
“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights. I maintain an act of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow.
Today I am blessed.”