A Letter to War: Pt. 2

The following post is a follow-up piece to a blog that I wrote in Grade 10 AP titled “A Letter to War.” This piece is also inspired by Sara Tirmizi’s amazing writer’s seminar in my creative writing class on Friday. Funnily enough, however, the original blog post I wrote in Grade 10 was actually inspired by Sara’s “Letter to Depression” piece that she wrote that year in AP as well. I highly suggest you read my original letter from grade 10 first, as there are snippets of that lingering in this piece as well.

 

LINK TO GRADE 10 POST: http://aphunniblog.edublogs.org/2015/11/14/a-letter-to-war-free-choice/


 

Dearest War,

I saw you in the mirror today.

It’s funny – I used to only know you through the television screen, with images of bodies smeared with the blood you caused to be shed. Dust and rubble you sprinkled across faraway lands never failed to miss the 6:00 news program.

I never thought I would meet you in person because you always presented yourself in a grand show that drifted from my mind a week later – not unimportant enough to be unnoticed, but too distant to be thought of. I know I said once before that I was lucky to not have met you, and I begged you not to visit me.

I guess that wish was futile.

You see, old friend, when I looked in the mirror this morning, I gazed upon eyes that weren’t mine. They were yours. War has crept into every lobe in my brain and cell in my body like a parasite I never noticed until it consumed me. I am at war with myself.

All my life I have been a shadow of others – similar to you, in fact – and now I don’t know how to cope with the inevitable outcome of being on my own. Dressed in your favorite red scarf, you have caused my inner child and my inner adult to be at war with each other – the most unnatural of wars you have ever created. I can see you grinning as you pluck strings of laughter and strings of responsibility from the fabric of both sides of my mind. I hate this, but you could be doing worse to me, I suppose.

What side will win your fight? Am I to follow my childish dreams in bombs of colour and water gun battalions? Or am I to side with cold steel swords sharpened with experience and maturity? They say that you can make people stronger – that your bloodshed can bring out the best in some people. But what I’m afraid of is you bringing out the worst in me. The tears you forced out of my body during the formation of your battle plans already shook me to the core – what will I do when you go nuclear on my life?

The shadows of ash left on the pavement of my thoughts will forever be a reminder of my future decision to drop a bomb – whether it will be made of colour or experience. I already feel smoke pouring out of the pores in my face. My smoke alarm must be broken from overuse.

I hope I may survive your carnage, War, and that I will become a better soldier because of it.

If I don’t – I guess I’ll appear on the news too.

 

Yours,

Carmen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINK TO GRADE 10 POST: http://aphunniblog.edublogs.org/2015/11/14/a-letter-to-war-free-choice/

 


Image: https://www.tumblr.com/search/mind+gif

 

 

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10 thoughts on “A Letter to War: Pt. 2

  1. Dear Carmen,

    I cannot express to you how much I love this piece. I love the simplicity, the imagery, the brutal truths that we try our best to ignore. I remember reading your original letter two years ago and being completely taken aback by how brilliant the writing was. Reading this now, I am just as awed. Your simplicity conveys your point with precision and the meaning comes across clearly to the reader. I love that you chose to explore the idea of an inner battle, one between the past and future. I’m drawn to the idea of sacrifice and change- what exactly are we giving up as we move through life? I think a lot of causalities of our war go unnoticed until it’s too late to do anything. What does it take to bring back peace? It would be interesting to see this letter framed as a short story, personifying war and your emotions or memories as the soldiers. Thank you for taking the time to frame this struggle so beautifully and concisely.
    Fantastic work!

    Sincerely,
    Sara

    1. Dearest Sara,

      First of all, I am terribly sorry for the late reply – I have been neglecting the interwebs all week! 🙁

      OHMYGOSH – thank you so much for reading and commenting on this post – it means the world to me for such an inspiring and talented writer such as yourself to read my writing. Thank you so much! I’m eternally grateful for both the genius and the utter inspiration your writing gives others.

      Thank you for suggesting to write a short story… I never thought of that! If only I could write one as well as you can! I will definitely try to write a story in the future around war – I especially love the idea of making emotion soldiers. BRILLIANT!

      Finally, I would like to thank you for coming to our class last Friday, and giving the gift of your writing to the world. I think you are one of the most talented and inspiring writers I know, and I constantly look forward to what you write next.

      Much love,

      Carmen

  2. * Oh my lord Carmen! This is so good! I am just so in love with your ability to set up the theatrical nature, for lack of better word, of war and so seamlessly connect it to the inner conflicts you were facing. I do not know that I would change anything because this as it is was mind blowing.

    Hugs,
    Ibukun

    1. Ibukun,

      THANK YOU SO MUCH MY LOVE! It means so much that you were able to enjoy this piece because your writing is something that I look up to, with its strength in human emotion and connection. Thank you for commenting and reading this post!!!

      Love,
      Carmen 🙂

  3. Dear Carmen,

    I am haunted by your letters to War. After reading them, I was struck by your ability to convey such power and emotion upon the strength of a few simple words. In your sentences, I discover the painful musings of an observer in a world of carnage; after all, we live in a world defined by War, both war between people and war within ourselves. Before reading your letter, I always thought that war was something far from my version of reality, something I thought I would never be unfortunate enough to experience. Like you, I thought I was lucky that War hadn’t visited me in person – it turns out I was wrong, too. Through your letter, I realized how much we’ve allowed War to permeate our very lives. We gaze upon War every time we look at our reflections in the mirror, we find War when we are faced with the decisions we have to make everyday, and we see War when we ponder upon the futures we have yet to write. It makes me wonder if we, as members of the human race, are naturally inclined to war. If war between our inner child and inner adult is, as you say, the most unnatural of wars, then I suppose the war between people must be the most natural. It truly shows how brutally savage we can be.

    I thought it was very interesting to see the shift in perspective between your letter in Grade 10 and your letter in Grade 12. In the first one, you signed it off anonymously, but after you realized War’s presence in your life, you knew that it was useless to keep your letters anonymous. I found this to be very insightful and it prompted me to think about War’s role in my own life, in my own inner conflicts. Still wearing that red scarf, War remained unchanged, but from your letters, it was quite chilling to discover War in places where I never thought to find it before. Thanks to you, I found War in the most unexpected of places and I was made more aware of the suffering that War has caused and continues to cause, both in battles among façades (War in its physical nature) and the battles among souls (War within ourselves). Your letter also proved your ability to craft beauty in something as ugly as War; your words were very well-chosen for both their quiet power and for their simplicity. I found your letter to be quite relatable, as from it, I could truly feel the sense of apprehension from the fear of impending adulthood. I think many of us can relate, especially as we are nearing the age when we begin to cut the apron strings and wage a war for independence. However, at the same time, we find ourselves longing for our fading childhood. It is in this conflict that we find War. For giving expression to my thoughts, as well as to the thoughts of others, I thank you. You truly are an amazing writer.

    With that said, I couldn’t really find any areas for improvement within your letter. The lack of pictures added to its powerful simplicity rather than hindered it, and your diction was very precise in its use. You were concise, but you really knew how to appeal to one’s sense of emotion without resorting to verbose sentences. As others have said, I do not know that I would change anything in your piece. At least in my eyes, it is perfect as it is!

    Your creativity amazes me and I appreciate the timing of your piece, as well. With Remembrance Day fast approaching, your letter gave me a fresh perspective on War and the people who have felt the need to endure its torture for the safety of our world. More than ever, I now feel a greater sense of gratitude for the soldiers who were (and are) willing to face relentless pain and suffering, despite War’s ability to leave strong soldiers as weak men in its wake. This time around, I will be sure not only to remember those men and women who were willing to lay down their lives for their fellow human beings, but also for the men and women who have found the strength to endure the wars in their daily lives. Despite it’s carnage, we often find the will to continue on persevering as a human race. Your letter reminds me of that. I am haunted by your letters to War.

    Ever yours,
    Jieo

    1. Dear Jieo,

      Oh my gosh – thank you for leaving such an insightful comment! Your wisdom never fails to amaze me and inspire me.

      I am really glad you felt a connection to this piece, as the greatest accomplishment I can have is being able to write something that others can connect to. Furthermore, I also truly appreciated your perspective on the wars that wage within us, and how you may not recognize war until you are staring it in the face. I think you probably could have written a much better blog than I ever could on this topic – you are such an amazing and prolific writer.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my writing – it truly means the world.

      Much love,

      Carmen 🙂

  4. Dear Carmen,

    WOW!

    I did, as a matter of a fact, take a look at the first letter you wrote back in the tenth grade. You have, without a doubt, always been a strong writer. But It’s still amazing to see how much you–and how much all of us, for that matter–have improved since grade ten. Your writing voice has evolved a great deal. So I wanted to first commend you on that.

    I also found the premise of this letter–of both of your letters, as a matter of a fact–to be very creative. I absolutely LOVE the personification of war. That being said, I also appreciated how you connected your two pieces together without repeating the same ideas from the first piece into the second piece; while they are both undoubtedly intertwined, they are also unique in their own ways.

    The first piece, for instance, seemed to be directed towards the world’s population as a whole since war is something everyone is either aware of or has experienced. This, I felt, was specifically enhanced by signing the letter “someone” which conveys the idea that no one individual has a monopoly over the pangs of war–again, this is because “someone” seems to be a generalized statement. However, at the same time, it is also a very impersonal statement which emphasizes another prominent idea you had written about–the idea that war seems to make empty shells of us, that it strips us of our identities.

    That being said, part two of this letter was very much the opposite in its ideas; in this case the effects of war were likened to one specific individual opposed to multiple individuals. And that being said, the war was also portrayed in a different light. Instead of talking about the physical aspects of war, you explored the emotional aspects of war–our own inner conflicts, and how we “war” with ourselves. I liked how you chose not to speak on behalf of war in a literal sense like you did the first time around; I felt this choice brought new dimensions and dynamics to the “Letter To War” series as a whole.

    Like Jieo had said, I don’t really have anything that big to suggest in terms of the improvements. Just one little nit-picky thing is that there is a very large space between the end of the letter and the link to your grade ten blog post. Just to make the aesthetics of the blog look cleaner, I would recommend just tightening things up a bit. Other than that–Marvelous work!

    Lots of love,
    Jade

    1. Dearest Jade,

      Thank you for reading my writing – it means a lot to have such a skilled writer give me feedback.

      I am really surprised at myself because I honestly never realized the difference in the two letters in the ways that you described. Thank you so much for analyzing it in such detail, because I think I could never see the difference between the two due to the fact that I wrote each of them. If that makes any sense at all! I love how you brought up the idea of the first letter being more generalized and the second being more personal – which is something that I have tried to work on in AP over the years.

      As for the formatting – you are absolutely right!! I think I meant to delete the second link because I moved it closer to the beginning of the piece. I shall fix it right away!

      Thank you again Jade for taking the time to read my humble blog!

      Much Love,

      Carmen 🙂

  5. Dear Carmen,

    Wow… it is a rare that a piece of writing makes me feel emotion, but I believe this is the one. Above everything, I felt fearful. I sit in the classroom watching Carl Azuz report on the latest terrors of war, and I feel so distant from it, I feel as if war could never touch me, and that if it did I would be the brave one to stand up and fight. However, I realize now that I am the coward. War happens within me right now as I speak, and I’m simply too afraid to fight back. That haunts me, and I’m no soldier. Your ability to set up such a theatrical and quite realistic setting in a metaphorical world is amazing! The creativity of this piece is outstanding through its use of diction and voice. It’s at a perfect length too, as it isn’t too long. It’s at a perfect length where I can process and reflect on what I read each paragraph. After reading the first letter to war, I thought this one tied the two together quite nicely. You continued those elements of fear and destruction into this piece. However, you were able to make this horrific story come to reality. That’s what scares me the most.
    I can’t lie. There really isn’t anything I would improve on. Just like everyone else has said, this piece is phenomenal, and I could not for the life of me think of anything to add.
    I’m really glad you chose to write on such a topic, as I feel you did the reality of war justice. I feel like many soldiers would say that war is something nearly impossible to emulate and do justice. We as students have the blessing of focusing on our studies as opposed to fighting. I feel more grateful after reading this, and that’s another powerful message in this piece. We are all Gatsby in that we can’t quite compare our strength to the God of War himself.
    Much love,
    Tim

  6. Dearest Carmen,

    Thank you so much for writing this piece. I actually remember the first version of this, and I went back to read it before I looked at the new one. Your style of writing has improved so much, and your voice has gotten so much stronger. Some of the choices in this piece were so incredible because I never expected them or would have thought of them myself. You took War being an external force and brought it inside of you through the line, “I gazed upon eyes that weren’t mine. They were yours.” It’s almost as if War had taken over not just the world around you, but your identity. It was haunting and beautiful.

    I also just love the idea of personifying ideas like War and Sadness and Love. I’d be really interested to see you do another letter to something other than War, maybe another personifying piece.

    Love Always,
    Alysha

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