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A Room of My Own competition – Highly Commended: Courtney Hart

Filed under: Non-fiction

Words as Revolution

The first lesson I learned as a writer is that love is conditional. Crowds may cry that this is untrue, particularly in the case of blood-ties and close friendships, but even mass opinion can be faulty, and in fact often is. I learnt this lesson during a phone call to my aunty, no different to any other. I was eleven years old and being told, not for the first time but maybe for the first time with any serious intent, that writing is not a sustainable career, and therefore is not a sustainable hobby. As much as this was marketed to me as tough love, it was in fact evidence of conditional love. I adored writing but couldn’t profit from it, so why would I pursue it as a hobby or as a career?

I found the answer to this question years later, having taken a year hiatus after being asked the question in the first place. I had been unable to produce a sufficient answer at first, unable to compose the symphony that would combine each aspect of the island of misfit toys that I viewed as my criteria for success. In the smell of old pages and the electricity of fresh ideas, however, the answer came rushing at me, a dam finally breaking: we write for influence.

I was fifteen years old when I first read the poem ‘America’ by Allen Ginsberg. I was seventeen years old when I last read it, this morning in my bedroom as an elixir of courage to prepare for a hard day ahead. Poems and books written in the 1950s barely even begin to illustrate the complete vastness of the impact literature and creativity has on our everyday lives, and even in the extraordinary moments of our lives, but they are nevertheless a start. Book burnings were a violent act for a reason: they destroyed ideas, the very essence of humanity.

Ambition is the seed which creativity grows from, and from that stem blooms revolution. In my future, I will need one thing to write, and that will be a spark. In an age of terror and absurdity, we must push revolution and we must push belief. We are told that the decades before us were void of these concepts, but this is quashed by the existence of figures such as Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde. To write, we need nothing more than a belief or a revolutionary spirit.

Writing will save us. Words sown on paper will bear the fruit of beautiful recklessness in future generations. In writing, we spread not only ourselves, but ideas and beliefs, and nothing is more vital to a thriving society than diversity in ideas. Now more than ever, we need the world around us to write, and we need writing to remedy the illness inflicted upon the world around us. Words are marketed as poison; rather than the miracle cure we craft them to become. We write to change this.

Courtney Hart
17 years old
New College Doncaster