Ashly Bender, Assistant Director
By 2013, the Order of Words—of letters even—could no longer hide the fractures running through its structure. Some words remained strong by latching on to other words to create powerful cultural phrases. Other words adopted new meanings, or they went under penknife for to add or remove letters. Some particularly unfortunate words just fade and disappear; their ghosts haunting old pages and high school students.
In the beginning, the deteriorating words were blamed on the infamous kids-these-days and new-technology. Well intentioned figures like Twitter and Facebook were turned into evil villains. They were accused of stealing letters, breaking down the cornerstones of complete sentences, and misusing punctuation! Evidence of their positive effects on word-smithing was covered up or ignored.
While language academies and even some teachers fought to hold onto the old Order, other recognized the vitality possible in the changing letters and words. Many knew that some words had been lurking in the shadows of the order and hoped these words would add a new texture to the tapestry of available communication. Leading this fight was the Caped Word Smith. No, not the caped Will Smith—Word Smith.
The mission of our loquacious hero was to forge new paths for young words who were just trying to make a name for themselves and to protect them on their journeys from the dreaded Grammar Meanies. Word Smith would traverse the many interconnected strands of the World Wide Web standing up to grammar bullies, but always trying to show them the way to acceptance and better understanding. She even appeared in the printed worlds of Newspapers and Books. On the most anticipated occasions, Word Smith visited students in their classrooms to share with them the possibilities of Words, Letters, and Punctuation—spreading love and appreciation in all their young hearts.
Of course, not all young words always behaved responsibly—sometimes staying out too late or hanging around with the wrong letters or words. With an eye to the future, Word Smith would encourage them to look inside themselves to find their true path forward. She would challenge them to think about the places and times in which they could be most effective. Did they really belong in this status post, or did they aspire to the offices of textual bureaucracy? She helped them see and seek their dreams.
Perhaps the most inspiring thing Word Smith did for the world though was the creation of the WordCorps. The Writers of the WordCorps were just everyday people who knew the power of Words but also that Words should not be boxed in and controlled. They worked to spread the respect for Words and their ability to change over time. Writers were encouraged to choose their own genres and locations for sharing the WordCorps message. Some worked with those old vilified figures—Twitter, Facebook, and Texting—to rebuild the world’s understanding of how new platforms can inspire growth as opposed to destruction. Others wrote longer texts that they shared with their classmates, coworkers, and friends—always aiming to use Words in new and effective ways. Adventurous Writers even took words into videos and other formats to give them a new kind of movement.
While the WordCorps makes good progress, they always need more Writers to spread the message. It is the dream of Word Smith and the WordCorps to enlist everyone into their organization so that all Words can reach their full potential without fear of bullies or meanies. Will you fight with the Caped Word Smith? Take up your keyboard, your pen, your pencil, whatever you need—and fight the good fight for the Words and Letters and Punctuations! Will you join us, will you be a Writer?