Monday, April 18, 2011

My Favorite Sentence of All Time

I began this blog two weeks ago, aimlessly hoping that if I could change one small habit, I might discover something new. I wasn't sure exactly what I was reaching for. All I knew was that something felt off about how I'd grown to spend my time. A few too many hours slipped away thoughtlessly, without much participation from me. And so, I began to write.

And what I'd forgotten, slowly over the years, is how much I love writing. I'd forgotten how empowering it can be to sort the words just the way you want them. I'd forgotten that thoughts have a way of getting lost if you don't give them a place to go. And though I've repeated it from time to time, I'd forgotten to remember my favorite sentence of all time: "As it happens, I am still committed to the belief that the ability to think for one's self depends on one's mastery of the language. . ." Even now, nineteen years later, the power of this sentence simultaneously inspires and intimidates me.

I came across it my freshman year of college, while writing an essay on "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," Joan Didion's piece about drugs and the Haight-Ashbury district. When I came across these incredible words, I was trying to decide what my major would be: either English or Business Administration. One night, I whined continuously through 45 minutes of accounting homework, then hardly noticed as I spent four hours crafting a single paragraph of that essay. Right then, I had my answer. I never looked back.

I can't for a second claim to be a real writer. But what feels good to me is the knowledge that this hardly matters. What matters instead, what keeps me intrigued, is that I'm participating in the game.

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