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Writing, in my opinion, is a complex activity that demands all the best I have to put it in the form of text. This is a skill that will develop gradually; the more practice we have, the better text we can produce. Thus, if for some reason we stop to write, the skill will likely deteriorate. What if this happens in massive scale? I have slight anxiety about this.

The idea that writing skill will go backwards actually stems from my acute paranoia. It might be the impact of some dystopian novels I have read blended with fact of seemingly alienated use of proper language.

In dystopian books like Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and Chaos Walking where totalitarianism is implemented, books are not freely possessed. Books can encourage people to think and take action. Controlling books, which is equal to controlling language is a powerful tool to control the mass.  Masses become ignorant and the ruling classes continue to stay on their throne forever.

Today the signs of the unskilled use of language, especially in written text can be seen in various places. The arbitrary abbreviation of words, the spelling of words in bizarre combination of character; the expression of emotion with certain symbols or pictures, no emphasis on the use of punctuation, and the list goes on. We can recognize these phenomena in the way people write in social media, online chat, short text message, etc. Technological breakthrough has its own side effect. Television, cellphone, online shopping, fast food, seem like modern tool of magic. We can get what we want in one blink of an eye.

Surely there is nothing wrong with the use of nonstandard language in communication; it can even be regarded as creativity. The thing is, when it becomes a deep-seated habit and it is used in any situation regardless of context, it can create communication barrier. The risk of misunderstanding and frustration are getting higher. In order to make our meaning understood, following the basic rule and convention of certain language is a must. The users of this creativity will face a hard time in the environment where proper writing is required.

Actually, writing challenge for this week asks its participants about their favorite writer, and if possible, to imitate his/her style. I have to admit that I have many writers whose works I adore. Regardless of my preference, every writer has a special ability to convey his/her ideas in a form of engaging text to their readers.

One writer that currently stands out as one of my favorites is Patrick Ness. He is the author of Chaos Walking trilogy, a dystopian novel with science fiction and adventure element in it. It tells about twelve years old boy named Todd Hewitt, the youngest human being in Prentisstown, a district located in New World. Once he reaches thirteen, he will automatically be labeled as man.

There was a virus infection that lethal to women and causing thought can be heard. Therefore, the place is full of Noise but no women and no school. School is useless because everyone can hear each other Noise therefore cheating or idea stealing is inevitable. Noise is everywhere, no quiet place, and the quiet one is regarded as violation to the existing norm.

One day when Todd went to the swamp with his dog Manchee, he encountered something unusual, a hole in the Noise where calmness and quietness reside. Troubles are ahead. He knows something and knowledge is dangerous. Possessing book is prohibited. The oppressive leaders will chase after him and all he has to do is run, get away from Prentisstown. His adventurous escape is not free from danger. Manchee becomes his loyal friend. Oh, animals in New World can talk like human, though their vocabulary is limited.

Chaos Walking #1: The Knife of Never Letting Go is the book I read now. I was nearly frustrated the first time I read the book. I notice that it has poor word spelling, unacceptable grammar, and inaccurate punctuation. It’s like an unedited text; a book without editor. Fortunately, I quickly found the reason of such illiteracy: the book is told from the first person point of view, twelve years old boy whose education including reading and writing is abandoned.

Rather than inventing new terms, the uniqueness of this book lies in its writing style.  This style reminds me to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn character. The author successfully portrays the compelling thinking and feeling of the boy, which is surely difficult for an adult to do so.  I find the style is haunting and end up like it. Todd’s poor literacy skill makes me want to write immediately. Not because of illiteracy is good, I just do not want to be like that. Before the words extinct, before possessing book is classified as crime, I want to write something meaningful and make it as a habit.

Let us check a single paragraph that only consists of one long sentence.

And we run and Manchee lets out a frightened yelp and leaps past me but I see a croc rear up outta the rushes in front of him and it jumps for him but Manchee’s so scared he jumps even higher, higher than he really knows how, and the croc’s teeth snap on empty air and it lands with a splash next to me looking mighty pissed off and I hear its Noise hiss Whirler boy and I m running and it jumps for me and I’m not even thinking and I’m turning and I’m pushing my hand up and the croc comes crashing down on topof me and its mouth is open and its claws are out and I think I’m about to be dead and I’m trashing my way back outta the muck up onto the dry part and it’s on its hind legs coming after me outta the rushes and it takes a minute of me yelling and of Manchee barking his head off before I realize that it’s not actually coming after me no more, that the croc’s dead, that my new knife is right thru its head, still stuck in the croc and the only reason the croc’s still trashing is cuz I’m still trashing and I shake the croc off the knife and the croc falls to the ground and I sort of just fall over too in celebrayshun of not being dead.

Well, of course I hope you don’t sigh in frustrayshun and enjoy how a buncha words like this gives you explanayshun. Now the conclushun wecan draw from the practice of writing is that writing can prevent and reduce and eliminate our literacy retardayshun so the thoughtprint will be one of invaluable heritage we can pass to our next generayshun. Cuz the words can walk away anytime from our memory write from now on is an appropriate anticipayshun before the unexpected situayshun comes without permissyun, and I think blog is a good place to do it. So what is yer opinion?

**image: freedigitalphotos.net

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6 Comments

  1. definitely it’s true.. just like the saying ‘pen is mighter than sword’.

    another point is that people may well interpret a book differently.
    have you heard or read a book entitled ‘catcher in the rye?’ ingenious serial killer is often be described as the avid reader of it.

    thanks and have a beautiful day!

    • I havent heard about it.. Hehehe, yes don’t mention it. Have a colorful wednesday mba 😀

  2. The book smells good. Patrick Ness, Oke i’ll remember that name 😀 .. Yes, the point you told me on the “start” is like the way i usually view, books can encourage people to think and take action. Because that, the author from every book, or just like us, a blogger, must write “good” things. Because in this case, we can give something like doctrine to every reader. We can “change a good boy becomes the most craziest killer”

  3. beautiful explenayshun. 😆 saya jadi penasaran sama bukunya. sounds like good read but the price is such considerayshun to me. you write in english so smooth i wish i could do that too.

    • lol
      yes, have the hard copy of our favourite book is ‘bliss’. but when it seems impossible to get it now, there’s still a way to read it.
      try to search it in kobobooks.com, the epub version is usually free downloadable.
      by the way, same situayshun 🙂
      let’s practice writing more, and
      thanks for your appreciayshun!


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