WRITERS are healers since words heal.

Literature has an ability to heal, but this has always been overlooked. To some, literature is a mere source of entertainment, information and knowledge. But it is also an escape from unbearable things.

This was also my perception on literature before I actually let myself into the study of it.

As a child, I read a lot because I liked the feeling of being away from the troubled world I lived in. Reading for me then was an escape from loneliness and sadness. But, years later, when a professor told me that the real value of literature lies in its ability to make an individual whole and complete, reading became a form of knowing myself rather than an escape.

Writing about painful experiences heals since, through writing, people express their inner thoughts, and feelings that enslave them. The poet Victor Carmelo Nadera once written that “as catharsis or purgation of the spirit, poetry is the process by which an unhealthy emotional state produced by an imbalance of feelings is corrected and emotional health restored.”

An example of poetry as a means of healing is Toni Harrison’s poem “Rice Paper Man,” which narrates the story of a father who tries all sorts of things—from lighting candles to different churches, to going to Japan and writing prayers on the back of a rice paper only to realize that he should have considered writing poetry since he is the one who needed healing more than his son:

“My pen’s no wand, and I’m no Prospero,

but poems are the one redemption that I know.

Her fate in her hands

Anything with God in is the worst.

This last resort I should have fled to first.

Somewhere I always have to draw the line.

You have your own props and poetry’s mine—”

Writers, as I have come to know, are sensitive people who have the ability to see things in a different light. They also have a “privilege” to re-tell the experiences of different people. Lorna Crozier, a Canadian poet and the author of “The Garden Going On Without Us” and “Angels of Flesh, Angels of Silence,” said, “we are telling you this because you are sensitive people, because you are poets. We know you will take our stories back with you, you will put them into words.”

Writers are also individuals who write about ordinary things and experiences in creative and unique ways. The fact that they share aspects of themselves and their perspectives on life can enlighten individuals and mend broken souls. However, healing only comes when a person begins to understand his individual experiences.

Literature enables people to re-map their lost selves. Words only wait to be read and written in times of self-doubt, when the soul seeks epiphany that no pill can give.


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