i remember the moment in which i first realized the power of the written word.
my parents had gone around the block to talk to some people and they were gone longer than my six year old mind judged appropriate, six year olds having really only four references to time: "before", "now", "soon", and "some point in the future very incomprehensibly distant".
so i decided to go out and look for them.
but what if they came back to find me missing? surely they would be as worried to find me gone as i was to find them not home yet. there must be some way to convey to them the idea of having gone to look for them where they said they'd be, some way to leave a message where i had been and then be able to go somewhere else.
a note! i could leave a note!
i had learned at school what some words looked like, and they had taught me how to sound out words, so i figured i could use the arcane symbols of the alphabet to express my thoughts.
it didn't look right, but i knew my phonemes, by golly, and i got it down on paper just fine enough to convey not just information but ATTITUDE.
and i went off to find my parents.
happily, that first effort has been preserved and was returned to me last week.
knowledge is power. literacy is power.