No means know

by Sarah Singleton in ,


I have been forming and following stories in my head and on paper as far back as I can remember. I remember on the first day of kindergarten, at Matthew Whaley School, shooting my arm into the air and asking hopefully, "Are we going to have any homework?!" My teacher responded with muffled laughter, "Um no. No, not much homework this year." I was incensed. What kind of a school is this?! I thought.

My next chance, as I saw it, was the following year. This was the first grade, so surely there would be homework. But when I saw the rudimentary textbook, I knew I was in for another huge disappointment. Spot and Jane? Seriously? The text book, which was supposed to last the entire year, was finished in that very first day. I meant business and I was intent on getting some homework done this year. These stories about Spot and Jane were just not worth a first graders' intellect and reading muster. Besides that, I did have some rather intriguing Pippi Longstocking novels home, that I could use as homework for the time being. The teachers gladly moved me into a special class, where I could read to my heart's content.

So although I was picky about textual contents in a classroom setting, I was happy to read pretty much anything. It was simply the act of reading that I craved. I could pore over books and objects alike, simply pleased to be absorbing the contents. Little did I know I was collecting words, not only reading for the sake of it, but because I needed to write. So, the act of reading would eventually become a means to an end, but was always a fun way to pass the time. My voracious appetite for reading was such that if left with very meager resources, I would hunt for words within a room. For example, in a stark bathroom, I could become engrossed in a shampoo bottle's list of contents. 

The first substantial purchase I ever made for myself, for which I scrimped and saved, was a bright and shiny new typewriter. I think I was 11 years old. I loved that typewriter, used it constantly, and even polished it daily. Personal computers were still about a decade away for me. So, I took a typing class as soon as I could, not because I longed to be on Mad Men (yet), but because it meant I could write even faster. Reading, typing, and even doodling were all tools of the craft, to hone my storytelling skills. It was very apparent to my loved ones that I loved storytelling. However, I was very suspicious of this idea, and thought I must have them all fooled. I knew I was a good reader, and that's about all I was ready to cultivate. I didn't want to tell any stories yet. So, I went about suppressing my hand at storytelling, while continuing to read and study languages. These fascinating endeavors have helped me to basically write anything I'd like, while rebelling against constraints of spelling and grammar. Semantic studies opened the world of language development. Language evolves systematically, in predictable patterns, specific to cultures. Let's let language change! Word. 

So, here I am happily pursuing my writing, from the mundane to the professionally astute. Storytelling is still hovering overhead peacefully, as a guiding angel. Current projects include article writing, business proposals, letters to childhood pen pals, journaling and record-keeping. My favorite hobby, quite befitting my passions, is the New York Times crossword puzzle. I even have an app that alerts me when the next day's puzzle is ready. Anything that keeps the words circulating right now is sufficient for me. The most important thing, the way I see it, is that I am at last living an authentic life and I am enjoying every single word. 

And I'll end here in a haiku this evening ... just for fun. 

The word "know", not "no". 
This word names truth and beauty,
Known in dark and light.

___