Celebrating International Literacy Day
To celebrate the International Literacy Day the students wrote their version of a story speculating on what would happen if suddenly one wakes up not knowing how to read. All the students were given the same beginning and 45 minutes to write. After that their stories, 32 in total, were combined into one story. The result of their creative work you can read below.
I woke up in the morning realising I could not read. I am not sure how I knew it. For a second there I felt disoriented. Like waking up in a hotel room on your first day of holidays and not knowing where you were. It reminded me of my holidays in Mexico when the cleaners mumbled something and I could never follow any dialogue and all the brochures confused me instead of giving me the right information. This was a bit different though, I am struggling to describe how I came to this realization. There was some emptiness in my head; it felt as if I was punished for something. I felt like I did not belong anywhere.
I could clearly remember the symbols they made me dizzy, I remembered them and at the same time I could not recognize them anymore. I did not understand where I was. I felt a weakness in my body and I saw black circles. It was a feeling that I could not describe. It was impossible to do anything. The present, the future and the past have a tricky way to play with your memories and visions.
I was wondering if my unexpected partial memory loss extended to writing as well, so the decision to test it out came naturally. I got out of bed and rushed to my desk in an effort to find a pen and some paper. “The roof is red”. As I was writing this, I was thinking to myself how I know what I am writing and that it actually makes sense. I certainly cannot read it, maybe I should ask someone to read it for me. It is too late now to ask for help. I guess I have to trust my gut instinct. It feels different when one cannot read what he or she wrote. It feels as if something is missing from me, that one of my abilities has vanished. I guess it is true, how can I gain knowledge now when one of the most important ways of gaining knowledge is through books, through reading? I needed help. The problem is, no one can help me. And how do you even begin when you have a story like this, who do you turn to? I should start each time by saying I swear I am not making it up. It is not like I want attention or anything, I truly need help.
Suddenly, I was scared that I might never understand just how red the roof is without reading it on paper, not feeling the words, realizing what they are. It felt like I was in a locked room, trying to break the windows that cannot be broken and I was afraid of death. I started tearing all the books from the shelves and throwing them on the floor, my eyes began to tear up. I felt myself deprived of human joy. I could not remember who I am and could not know who I will be.
I was not sure whether I should share my knowledge with anyone, the fact that I can read when I dream but cannot when I wake up, I have not realised what it is just yet myself. It felt as if you are high up in a hot air balloon and suddenly you hear this unmistakable sound of air coming out in its hissing threatening voice. It felt as if everything will be black and white forever. I had not sense of time and yet I could not feel any distinct physical changes. I would be forever floating in this balloon having no control over it until it hits the ground. I was thinking back to the day when I learned how to read and how little I appreciated it since, how I never helped anyone who was less fortunate that I was. I wish these thought would stay with me once I get my ability to read back again if ever. I wish the time would come when it happens in reality not just in my dreams and then I would be able to share my knowledge with the whole world.
I got up and stretched my shoulders and knees cracking. Walking outside brushing myself clean, the grit, the pebbles and twigs of the cave floor falling away and leaving indented patterns on my skin. It had been such a strange dream. The others in my clan were already awake, the fire was burning slowly and some had found a patch of wild berries. I joined them in their efforts to pick it clean.
`I had a dream`, I said. One of them grunted, and I took it as a permission to continue. ` I was in a room which is like a cave only … all around on the walls of the cave were lines of symbols and I could understand them but then I could not anymore. I remember I could see what they mean, they were like pictures and they could speak to my mind. These images… `I was struggling to go on.
One person looked at me ‘Dreams are only interesting to the one who has them, try describe them to others and they make no sense`. I sighed. `I think I could make it happen I could make the shapes that speak to my mind and then teach them to others. If only I can have this ability at all times with me, not only when I dream and then lose it once I wake up`.
`I do not see why anyone would want that`, said someone else. I said nothing. I am so ahead of my time. Just last week I heard someone talking about agriculture in my dreams but I did not attempt to bring it up just yet.
I just went back and kept writing as if by writing this story I would be able to capture all the mystery of the world and and at the same time rid it of its misery. I never published any of my dreams. Except for this one you are reading now, my friend, I hope you are reading it. `The roof is red`.
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