An Open Letter to the English Language

Dear English,

Tumblr posts make fun of you. The world mocks you for making words like “read and read” read differently. For allowing “that that” to be grammatically correct. They stare quizzically at a couplet where the words “though and through” don’t rhyme but “late and eight” due. Sorry, do. It’s cruel really, the posts – I have to admit that I laugh at them too.

I take you for granted, and I’m sorry for that. You blessed the world with magical words like labyrinth and elegance. Words that seem to fall of the tongue and twist in the air in explanation of definition. I am simultaneously shocked and amazed that I can open any book and look at odd shapes and lines arranged in such a way that translates meaning to the mind. Each word in this article, whether it contains just one syllable or more, can be understood be read and understood by anyone who has danced with you for the twenty years I have. Through you I am able to access the mind of Freud and enter the world on Austen. You are an amazing thing.

At a young age I was absorbed into your world, novels featuring the coveted Junie B. Jones acted as my seductress. I tore through the series and any other book that I could get my small hands on. In the third grade I discovered writing – not the writing that the teachers demanded but the unprompted writing at a small wooden table on blank paper stolen from the printer. I believe I honoured you with tales about fairies that I stood and proudly read aloud to my class. Eventually we entered into the dangerously beautiful world of metaphor and allegory, the clever use of words to cloak meanings behind meanings behind meanings.

After twenty years in an intimate relationship with you I still don’t feel as though we are equals. You have created rules that rival those of the strictest societies. You have placed constraints on me that have forced me into structured essays and thesis statements. I am not one who enjoy rules, nor am I one to follow them. I disgrace you with fragmented sentences and misplaced commas in poetry and prose. I hope my blatant disregard for your guidelines does you some sort of justice, and brings you some sort of pride.

Forever a reader, forever a writer,

Maggie