I think I was always born to be in school. Growing up, all I knew was that school was my favorite place to be and, while I enjoyed summers, I counted down the months until August when I could go back. The few times the doctor told my mother I needed to stay home due to sickness was miserable! All I wanted was to go back to what I enjoyed. Having a mother as a teacher must have had a lot to do with why I turned out that way; I loved helping her pack up her classroom at the end of the year and setting it back up at the beginning of a new year. I could not and still cannot imagine myself leading any other life that did not include some kind of education.
In my senior year economics class, every morning was dedicated to what important historical event happened that day and important current events. I appreciated learning about the past and what was happening then in the world, but very little topics interested me beyond that. On October 10th, my teacher talked about a teenaged Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai who was known for advocating education and women’s rights had been shot in the head by the Taliban the previous day. She frequently blogged about what she believed in and this upset those who disagreed with her. He brought up news clips that discussed the details of the incident and newscasters all over the nation talked about how serious her injuries were. Hearing about the whole thing bothered me all day. I couldn’t believe that a teenager, one who was younger than me, had been met with such brutal force for what she believed in. Once I had gotten home from school I read all I could about Malala.
The great Maya Angelou.
With the recent passing of one of my most favorite poets, Maya Angelou, I decided to make a post discussing the impact that poetry and spoken word has had on my life, especially in the past year. I never liked English too much in middle school; I actually was determined I would never go to study it in college! I certainly did not like poetry much back then either. The first poem of Angelou’s that I read, “Still I Rise,” made me figure out that I didn’t hate poetry and I actually kind of liked it! Though I would not come to realize the effect that Angelou’s writing would have on me for many years, I have her to thank for having a part in creating who I am today.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, Shakespeare and the thought of performing in a play have interested me and language is a passion of mine. I enjoy all forms of literature, but among my favorites is spoken word poetry. I decided years ago that I wanted to major in English and read all the best books and learn about the lives of all the greatest authors. As I’ve spent more time listening than reading, I realized that words don’t have to be printed on a page for me to love and appreciate them. I love words and the thought that with just 26 letters in the English language we can communicate so much is phenomenal. I found that one of the greatest applications of those 26 letters is through spoken word poetry, a form of poetry that is meant to be performed in front of an audience. Rhythm, body language, and lots of emotion characterize spoken word and allow it to have such an impact on its listeners.
Although I cannot remember how or why I stumbled across my love for spoken word, I do know that it was a wonderful accident.