It is a cliché to say, “I started writing when I was a young child,” but it is true. Being diagnosed with chronic asthma at the age of five often confined me to the indoors, and there were only so many cartoons I could watch before becoming bored out of my mind. So I began to spend a lot of time reading and writing. I wrote short stories to entertain my family about growing up on a farm. I also wrote short stories with fictitious characters and pets; sometimes my pets talked and were heroes. One of my favorite pastimes was writing stories and making them into little books for gifts.
Even today, eighty-eight years after historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson established Black History Month (BHM), honoring and celebrating it is still a very controversial issue among blacks and other races. Strong opinions of why it should and should not be celebrated are voiced throughout the year and specifically in the month of February.
When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with chronic asthma. Due to the severity of this disease, I was told that I would have a very short life expectancy; I would not live to see my ninth birthday. With such a dreary prognosis, I was forced to grow up fast, as my normal daily activities were drastically affected. I required lots of hospitalization, home health care and medical care. Throughout my childhood and adulthood, I basically lived in a bubble, being under close observation by my parents and numerous doctors. My family and I educated ourselves about the illness as much as possible and modified our lifestyles to reflect what we learned. My mother had a strong Christian faith and believed in the power of prayer.
Rudyard Kipling’s quote, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind,” eloquently summarizes how I feel about written expression. It is truly a gift to be able to uniquely and creatively arrange words on paper that can be life-changing to others. To possess the amazing talent of authoring work that captivates, inspires, motivates and encourage others is simply phenomenal. Words are powerful.
Hello, my name is Johnnie A. Gaskew. Currently, I am enrolled in the Master’s of Science in Written Communication (MSWC) program here at National Louis University.