Opinion: There is power in words

Published 9:35 am Monday, April 17, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

Have you ever become completely engrossed with a novel for a period of time? Or perhaps, there is a particular book that means the world to you?

Thompson High School graduate and University of Montevallo student, Brianna Bramlett, discussed the impact of books during an essay that placed her as one of four winners in a national writing competition.

“I ended up writing about a tattoo I have that’s literary in nature,” she said. “A quote from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens. And I was talking a lot about how words come to mean so much to you—so much that they become metaphorically and physically, if you choose, a part of you.”

With her essay, Bramlett won a Books-A-Million national writing competition and got to take a trip to New York City to the Poets and Writers Charity Gala.

During the gala, Bramlett was able to meet and network with numerous individuals in the publishing field. She expressed that this was not just a pleasant opportunity due to the networking opportunity but also being around people she could relate to who were also enthusiastic about writing.

“I was able to get the contact information of some incredible people in the field,” Bramlett said. “I would say networking is a big one, but honestly just being surrounded by like-minds that know how important literature is. To be surrounded by hundreds of people that held it so passionately as you did is just wonderful. If you want to write, there were so many creative minds in the room and if you want to edit, if you want to publish books you’re in wonderful company in an environment like that.”

The initial essay prompt for the competition Bramlett partook in was about “the impact of words, reading and literature on your life and how that’s shaped you into the person you are.”

It was a question that really resonated with her as someone who is enthusiastic about the power of writing.

“These words have made all of these people’s careers, all of these people’s passions and you’re in such like company,” Bramlett. “I consider myself to be somebody that’s made up of everything that I’ve ever read, everything I’ve ever written and being able to see that in a physical sense, being surrounded by other people that were made up of words, it was… I don’t know.”

As someone who writes for a living, and was a previously an English major at UM, I can relate to Bramlett’s sentiment.

Words not only shape how we express ourselves and even our own way of thinking, they allow us to convey that to others.

When we take those words and ideas and write them down they can become tangible and we can preserve them for generations to come.

I can think of books that have shaped my way of thinking throughout parts of my life. Books that have impacted my thoughts on politics, philosophy and religion. Even if books aren’t your cup of tea, I’m sure there is a song or a film that has impacted you, which at one point in time, also had to be written down.