I am not a succinct person. I never have been. Rather than mince words, I’ll draw them out into a luxurious five-course feast. Whether I’m talking or writing, brevity has never been my strong suit. More than once in my life, I’ve heard, “Just get to the point.”
I would much rather tell a colorful story filled with twists and turns than simply get to the point. I prefer a tapestry of words wrapped around me than short statements that leave me cold. Nothing against anyone who prefers shorter conversation or readings, but it’s just not who I am. I know I’m not for everyone and I’m certain I’ve annoyed more than one person in my life with my talking, but I’m comfortable with my quirks and I don’t need everyone to like me.
My gift of gab provided me many admonitions in the classroom and the distinct honor of being voted “Most Talkative” in my large high school class. Some might see that as a criticism, but I wear it like a badge of honor.
During difficult times in my life, having a place to “say something” about whatever the challenge was gave me hope. Writing things down or talking them through always made things better. I have tried in my personal life and career to pass along that hope to others. To say what others couldn’t or inspire people with my musings.
Words have power. They can comfort someone desperately in need. They can raise awareness of issues in need of addressing. They can entertain, spark creativity, inspire, inform, change minds and teach. Words can motivate others to make the world a better place.
Nick Young, a fourth-year physics and computational mathematics, science and engineering graduate student, knew how important science is to the future of society. Then he learned the importance of writing to the field. As he says, “Even if the science is outstanding, if no one can understand it or follow the procedure to replicate the result, what good is it?” So, he set out to make things better. Read his Student view: ‘Not a writer’ to learn more about his experiences and his upcoming stint as a science writer this summer.
Divya Victor, associate professor of poetry and writing, knows all about the power of the pen. She uses poetry to bring awareness to critical societal issues. Read her Faculty voice: Curbing anti-Asian racism through poetry to learn more about her work and why she hopes her latest book will show others, “Every person we see as a stranger is actually someone’s loved one.”
This Saturday, words, music and more will help Spartans celebrate Juneteenth and the MSU celebration, From Freedom to Liberation. If you’re unsure what Juneteenth signifies, we’ve got you covered with both a Q&A from an expert scholar and historian and a podcast panel of experts. It looks to be an incredible day on campus so make sure to check it out.
An in-person celebration is only possible because we are finally getting the spread of COVID-19 under control thanks to massive vaccination efforts. Did you know that the largest drive-thru operation in the state was right here at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education? If you want to know just how many vaccines were administered (a LOT!) or how many Spartans volunteered to make this happen, check out the MSUToday feature Spartan, community partnership drives vaccination clinic success.
Every week, a variety of stories are published that I reference in these columns. Some weeks are a lot harder than others. I recently was relaying that once I had the topics of math, chocolate and nuns to cover. A colleague said that sounded like the title of a memoir (hmmm…I do love words) and another said it’s like I’m given a “Chopped” basket of ingredients and must cook something up.
Often, I meander around the page bobbing and weaving, writing paragraph after paragraph before finally getting to the point. But what fun would it be if week after week I simply said, “Spartans Will”? While that’s the overall theme, I think the variety of ways that we prove this every week is what provides the power of those words. Eventually, get to the point, but use your words wisely, Spartans, and change the world. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner