Creating a Legacy | Teen Ink

Creating a Legacy

December 19, 2012
By Kat1712 GOLD, Rockwall, Texas
Kat1712 GOLD, Rockwall, Texas
11 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Inspiration is something that starts with someone else's story, ends with your own, and has a blurry line in between.

I believe in writing. I believe in words, flowing out of a six-inch piece of plastic and ink, carefully crafted to express an emotion, tell a story, create closure, or open new possibilities. I believe that lines can turn into letters, which can turn into syllables, then sentences, then paragraphs, then pages— until those lines do not represent a single feeling anymore. They become a legacy.

I do not remember a point in my life when I was without literacy. Although I am sure it existed, it does not hold a place in my memory. I do, however, remember searching hungrily for the definitions of words in my second grade classrooms. I remember writing “books” in our second-grade weekly printing press, my seven-year-old self covering topics from tsunamis to suicide attempts, from my sister’s multiple handicaps to haunted houses.

In fourth grade, I tried to read the dictionary as I learned the art of writing a functional essay. When I was ten, I raided the school and public libraries with a ravenous, relentless ambition, and simultaneously discovered the world of poetry. I began writing poems about anything and everything, trying to replicate Robert Frost. The moment I turned eleven, I started to grasp the beauty of the song— poetry set to music. I robbed my parents’ extensive CD collection, looking for a song or album that fit my current situation, something I could relate to. By now, I was so in love with the idea of writing anything that I answered my math questions with careful diction, telling my story of emotional desecration and abuse carelessly dealt in a dimly lit classroom, while also stating the circumference of a circle. I had to see my teachers after class to assure them of the lie that my short answer essays were not autobiographical, but the result of extreme boredom and an overactive imagination.

Now, in the ninth grade, I have come to realize why I have always had such an obsession with words, devouring and digesting them, always craving more. I want to make someone else feel the things I do when I read a sentence, hear a poem, or listen to lyrics. I want to evoke those emotions in at least one other person’s soul. I want to be able to express myself in a beautiful, intricate way. I want to create my own legacy, and I need to find the perfect words with which to do it.

As you might have guessed, creating a legacy is not an easy task. Most of what I write I crumple in frustration. I roll my eyes at the illogical symbolism and ridiculous dialogue I manage to come up with. I grudgingly accept compliments, unsure of how sincere they are. I hide my ink-stained hands, embarrassed a reputable person might notice that a frizzy-haired, green-eyed bibliomaniac has her heart anchored in the abstract world of words and sentences and fearless feelings unleashed on paper.

But my belief in emotion expressed through etymology helps me formulate the (somewhat unrealistic) idea that someday, my frantic scribbles will take shape and become something at least one person will read and fall in love with. The reader will be forced to think about new things, and feel things they didn’t know existed— just like I am every day. I will create a phenomenon with my words. I will write my own legacy.

This I believe.

The author's comments:
I wrote this for a "This I Believe" Essay contest last year. This piece won first place. I had to read it in front of two hundred people, but it was sort of worth it.

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