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May 21, 2016

Writing is Medicine.

Flickr/one2c900d

“A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” ~ Junot Diaz, Professor of Writing

I recently received news that I would not be accepted into a prestigious organization that I have dreamed of becoming a part of for years.

I will not be accepted into this organization because of my major: Creative Writing.

The email stated that my grades and my professors’ remarks were indicative of the kind of workers they were seeking, however, my concentration of study might have been the only thing standing in the way of the glorious and shiny acceptance letter that I have been dreaming of receiving. The organization is searching for people who are more classically trained in changing lives—doctors, nurses, research biologists, for example.

I understand, I really do.

But I have felt my entire life as if writing is something that the world has been urging me not to do—that it wasn’t life changing enough. I have constantly battled what my heart wanted and what I felt the world wanted, as I feared that maybe writing would not be good enough. That it may not make a difference. That maybe there was another career choice that would benefit the world more. I dabbled with different majors my first few semesters of college, but I wound up right back doing what I have done from the moment I could write sentences—scribbling down words into my journal.

While writers may not serve the same purpose in society as all of the knowledgeable and talented medical professionals, we certainly do serve our own beautiful and important purpose.

For some people, writing is a lifesaver, a doctor. Reading is an escape or a weekly therapy appointment. Words are prescription bottles, and they help keep us going. They give us hope and make our days and nights a little better.

Writers, don’t let the world tell you that your gift is less important than that of someone else.

We may not have been given the ability to diagnose illnesses, administer medications, or to effortlessly pop a dislocated shoulder back into place, but we are life changers and savers in our own regard. We are the doctors of the soul.

Sometimes, as readers, we just need to know that we are not alone in this world. And as a writer, scribbling in our notebooks or tapping away on our computers provides us with an outlet to get all of these roaring thoughts out of our overly creative and active minds.

I will continue to respect and admire this amazing and beautiful organization that turned me away. I will also continue to be a huge supporter of all of the good that they are continuously creating. I respect their decision to very kindly decline my transcript, but I wanted to put something a little different out into the world. Something that says writers are important too. And to say that we do have something more to offer the world than just words. We offer friends to those who feel like they have none. We offer advice and encouragement when our readers are sh*t out of luck. We offer laughs, tears, and everything in between.

Writing is not useless, dear organization. It is unifying. It is knowledge—it is power. Maybe I couldn’t administer shots or diagnose illnesses, but I could offer the benefactors of the organization a distraction. Something to get their troubled minds off of their hardships—whether that be through teaching literary skills or by simply working with the children of the community and helping foster a love of words within their souls. To give them something to look forward to or to escape their bad days. Health isn’t merely medical.

We may not save lives as a day job, but from time to time we unintentionally save people from themselves or even save ourselves.

Writing isn’t useless. Writing is beautiful, vital, and something that everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and share.

 

 

~

Author: Emily Cutshaw

Editor: Travis May

Image: Flickr/one3c900d

Emily Cutshaw

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