When I was 13 years old and a 7th grader at Holgate Junior High our English teacher assigned us a book to read that would end up forming a part of my heart in a way nothing else I’ve ever read has. The book was Night by Elie Wiesel.
This particular book didn’t look too appealing at first because a) it was non-fiction and b) at that time I wasn’t interested in reading any books outside of The Babysitter’s Club. After only a few pages I became obsessed with finishing the novel and did so in only a night. It was the fastest I’ve ever devoured a book before.
Elie’s window opened up a new world for me and allowed me to feel the power writen words were capable of holding. I read the book again and again before finally having to return the battered school copy back in to my teacher. One night after class that week I stayed after and cried. For nearly an hour after school had ended we discussed the book and its intense effect on me. My wonderful English teacher encouraged me to go home that night and write a poem for a contest that was being held at school called Reflections. She told me to pour my newly opened heart into that poem and bring it back to her when I was finished.
I did and I won first place in both the city wide contest and the state wide contest. Night taught me how to access emotion and turn it into inspiration through words. As I write this, I am filled with a deep desire to go back and read Elie’s words so I can be reminded of the power and awe that filled me 13 years ago. That book gave me the first nudge towards writing and it will always have an extra special place in my heart because of that.
To inspire emotion and open gateways to worlds unknown is one of the greatest gifts we can give. To recieve one of those gifts is a blessing more precious than anything monitary gain can provide.