Inspiration from Books

Beginning writers of all ages often don’t know how to channel their thoughts into a finished product. Using literature can often mold that creativity into a fine finished product. I’m not talking about plagiarism – just inspiration.

For example, I’ve used an excerpt from Nobel Peace Prize and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel’s memoir, All Rivers Run to the Sea to inspire both adult and student writing: Elie Wiesel

It was with the twenty-two letters of the [Hebrew] aleph-beth that God created the world, “ said the teacher, who on reflection was probably not so old. “Take care of them and they will take care of you. They will go everywhere. They will make you laugh and cry. Or rather, they will cry when you cry and laugh when you laugh, and if you are worthy of it, they will allow you into hidden sanctuaries where all becomes . . .” All becomes what? Dust? Truth? Life? It was a sentence he never finished.

 My students’ jobs were to finish that last sentence. After brainstorming all the things that words created with the letters of our alphabet allow us to convey, some inspired musings resulted:

Without the alphabet, emptiness attacks and wins. These 26 strong letters are my world, or at least define my world. These letters help me form the words that share who I am as a writer, a mom, a teacher, a lover-of-life. Words that began with “It’s a girl,” will define who I am when I die.

These letters form the words that allow me to help those I love:

“Talking about it will help the hurt go away.”

“Don’t worry, I’m here with you.”

“You will always be remembered.”

“Your life mattered.”

In the end, words formed from these 26 letters make all the difference.

What are some of the most important words these letters form in your life?


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