The Power of the Pen

Robyn Clarke, Staff Writer

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From the time I was little, I’ve loved to write. My first grade teacher would occasionally give us creative writing prompts to respond to, and they were always my favorite assignments. I enjoyed being able to create anything I wanted. I quickly figured out that when I wrote, my disability was gone. I began to write stories with main characters who could run, walk, and play sports. With a pen in my hand, I could do everything that I couldn’t do in the real world. The whole universe, it seemed, was at my fingertips.

It wasn’t until I was twelve that I found another benefit of writing: catharsis. I was stressed about a test I had coming up, and not knowing what else to do, I grabbed a pen and began writing about what was on my mind. As I wrote, I could feel the stress roll of my shoulders, and before long, I was relaxed and in the right mindset to continue studying. From that moment on, writing was the way I processed life. Whether it was exam week or summer vacation, I wrote about it all. Writing made the joy concrete and the pain disappear. Now, it’s as though I sometimes don’t know how I feel until I lay a pen against paper and record my thoughts. Writing’s become more than a hobby; now, it’s a lifeline.

Taking journalism has helped broaden my perspective and grow as a writer. Before, I wrote exclusively fiction. To be honest, coming into the class, I wondered how anyone could write about the world’s news for a living. To me, it was always depressing, and I didn’t see how anyone could find joy in interviewing people and then writing an article about the topic. What was the fun in that I wondered. Where was the creativity?

I soon found out. As a student journalist for Northgate, I’ve gotten to cover a variety of events and meet a multitude of people I otherwise never would have seen or talked to. That, I realized, was what made journalism so beautiful: I was telling people’s stories, instead of random ones that I made up in my head. I was a voice for someone who may otherwise have been silent. And journalism is creative. It’s not exactly the same thing as bringing a character to life, it’s…. putting together a puzzle. It’s taking people’s words and thoughts and stories and putting them together in a way that makes them smile and brightens their day. For me, there’s nothing better than that.

Over the last four years, I’ve learned that writing is exactly and nothing like I thought it was when I was little. It’s cathartic and freeing and healing, but it’s also a tool that can be used to bring people together and make the world a better and brighter place. That’s why I want to pursue writing as a career path: because I want to touch as many lives as I can. What better way to do it than through an avenue that will reach millions? I’ll be able to follow my passion while leaving smiles and joy in my wake, and nothing means more to me than that.

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