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Maddie Ecker

In more than one way, Maddie Ecker lives the life of many teenagers, school, friends, sports (tennis in her case), family. But at an early age she was swayed by the beauty of language and as she grew up, she saw herself as a word weaver and storyteller. Encouraged by her mother who's a Rabbi and her high school english teacher, 16 year old Maddie Ecker wrote this essay on what she's passionate about.

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I believe in the simplicity of words.

It began at the end of my 7th grade year, when a wise and wildly passionate English teacher looked out across my class and nodded in satisfaction. That year I had been taught the magnitude of words, how the simplest words, if phrased correctly, could have the greatest impact upon their reader. From then on words astounded me.

I started writing short stories and creating poems. Brightly colored post-its littered the walls of my room, each note covered by random sentences scribbled in my messy handwriting. I began understanding the books I read; the newly appreciated words wrapped themselves around my heart with newfound meaning. I found happiness in clean-cut sentences that somehow summed up everything I could not fully comprehend.

Over the years, words began to grow on me. I treated them as if they were my lovers. They put the world into simple terms, understandable terms that could always be changed or erased. Terms that could be viewed in a thousand different ways and make sense in every one of them. Then, the words I had come to adore turned on me.

One warm summer night, my best friend, Lily thickened the air with angry words, the kind that you cannot take back. All the sudden some of my favorite words were twisted into something hurtful. With a heartbreaking sneer on her lips she yelled, "I don't care. Don't even think about following me." Not only were the words I used to hold so close to my heart attacking me, but they also failed to come to my rescue when I needed to explain myself. It was then that I realized how words could inflict pain, even in their brilliant clarity and simplicity.

My romance with words has helped me create who I am, how I define myself and transforms the language I use while writing. Not only have words helped me construct the world I built around me, but they have also inspired me to look past the exterior of every situation and delve into deeper meanings. I believe in the beauty words create, the passion in which they are used and the influence they possess.