“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind
Mother told me the beginning is always like this – plagued with fear, doubt, uncertainty – but that if I worked hard, the sky will be my starting point.
She was the first person I heard that version of the saying from; I have always been told that the sky would be my limit. Often, I would look at the clouds and say to myself, ‘then success is not far from my reach.’
She would hold my hands with her frail fingers and tell me how much she believed in me, about how my words will someday transform the hearts of men. She made me understand that success is a mirage, just like the sky – the closer you are to it, the farther it becomes. She warned that in my pursuit of it, I should always retain my sanity and humanity.
True, mother’s faith in me is greater than that of the world and mine combined. It is the pillar upon which I will build the empire of words with which I intend to reach out to men – to inspire, educate, inform and entertain the world.
She said I should write:
About men who bring forth new things into existence, and men who shield others under their umbrellas. Inventors and entrepreneurs, she called them. She said the world needs more of them.
And men who stash corruption in the chambers of their stomach. “Let your words haunt them,” she said.
About children whose corpses are washed to the seashores while fleeing the abode of death.
And about children who make food from the remains of rotting filth.
About soldiers who confront death in the battlefield while their wives await them with open arms; arms never again to enclose the broad shoulders of the gone.
Carve dirges to immortalise their names, if they are ever known.
And, about unknown cities across the depthless oceans, where humans are humane, for there still exist beauty and goodness and laughter in the world.
Mother said I should arm myself with the knowledge of history, philosophy, geography and law. With these, my tentacles will spread wide and far.
“Let your words be the revolution – voice of the subaltern, the suppressed, the other – a soothing balm; an opium for troubled minds,” she whispered.
“Those who have changed the universe have never done it by changing officials, but always by inspiring the people,” she said, quoting Napoleon.
“May our words blaze the way to our future,” she prayed in the words of Paul Bradley Smith.
She became quiet and in that moment of silence, a new world was born in me.
“Transverse,” she whispered and her hands went still.
…and so begins my adventure of words.