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The Pen: Bringing to Life the Stories within Us

By:  Sundus Alsharif

When I was in Eleventh grade, I had an English teacher who changed the way that I looked at the world.

She had a quote from John Ruskin posted on the bare walls of her classroom that inspires me to this very day:

“The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things, but enjoy the right things — not merely industrious, but to love industry — not merely learned, but to love knowledge — not merely pure, but to love purity — not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.”

This teacher taught me that writing is something that I should love. She taught me that the best way to learn is through application: continuous reading and writing.

I had the honor of sharing this love that was instilled in me with many others at the Power of the Pen Workshop on January 22, 2016 at Daarus Salaam Mosque. I talked about how we often make writing much more complicated than it needs to be. Whether we realize it or not, we are all writers because we all experience life. We run, play, eat lunch, smile and help others.  All of this encompasses our story that we tell through writing. Writing isn't a unique talent only in a few: it's in us all. If we're willing to delve deep into ourselves and our experiences and ask some hard questions, we might be shocked with the words that flow from our minds onto paper.  All it takes is a book for inspiration and an idea.

And some passion.

At the Power of the Pen workshop, I shared my own love for writing with so many people in one place, something I have never done in that way before. It was breathtaking for me to hear everyone participating and gaining something from what I had to say.

In many ways, our lives are stories. I taught about how to write papers and give speeches, but these skills translate into telling our own stories as well. It's never too late to write our own stories better. Whether they're on paper, or they're our own actions in life. We all have a pen, and our mind is itching to churn out ideas.

And Allah gave us all the ability to do so.