Thursday, September 08, 2011

Happy International Literacy Day!

Hopefully everyone took time out to read a book and to make good recommendations to other people today!

International Literacy Day is September 8, and focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly 2/3 women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

Literacy opens countless doors for people throughout their lifetimes and the lives of their children. As a poet, I'm invested in the power even a few words can have for others, especially the printed word. To me, I don't see ink on a page or text on a screen, but souls talking to souls. I think it's important to appreciate that.

When we write, when we read, we're taking time to connect with others who spent a part of their lives to present a message. Not necessarily one we agree with, not always something new or profound. That's just a hazard of the human journey.

At a less grandiose level, I think we all can turn to a great many conflicts in our lives that could have been avoided through good, clear, and interesting writing. Whether it's just simply good directions or some other key documents, we count on a good command of the written word to help bring order to an often chaotic world.

I would hope International Literacy Day is just a beginning for many people to appreciate the role of words and writing in their lives, and that it would inspire them to help others in their journey to literacy.

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