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Xavier Smith: The power of a column

Xavier Smith • Updated Apr 19, 2017 at 1:00 PM

I love art in all forms – photography, writing, videography, painting, sculpture, dance, poetry and almost any other form of creative activity. 

I love the fact art is subjective. Two people can view or listen to the same piece of art, such as a song, and interpret and feel two completely different things. Those two feelings may also differ from the artists’ own feeling while making the piece. 

Art makes an impact – good or bad. I feel like art should make a person feel something on the inside. It should challenge our thoughts, emotions, perceptions and understandings. 

Art in our lives comes in several different forms. For some, the way we dress in the morning – from a hat to shoes – is an art form and a way to express feelings and emotions. 

In my life, a weekly column serves as one of my arts. It may seem like a simple grouping of words and sentences to some people, but my column, like most art, comes from an expressive place. 

In all honesty, I probably express more creatively in these 500 words per week than any other point during my week, especially when I feel extra inspired to express myself. 

My column, as well as anything I put in print, is not taken lightly. I want my work to feel like the ending of a great song when I put that last period. I want to be able to pick out a column, much like a cassette or CD, and be able to picture my feelings at that time or the situations that urged me to express myself the way I did. 

Beyond my selfish reasons, I want my columns to contribute to the society I belong. I understand every week won’t bring a call to action or pull a reader’s emotions to the extremes and that’s fine. 

I feel like a part of contributing to society is being true to yourself. I won’t ever force myself to feel a certain way or pretend to feel a certain way because I think acting is one of the few art forms where that action belongs. 

Tuesday was National Columnists’ Day, which is observed each year on April 18. The National Society of Newspaper Columnists created the holiday in observance of the life and work of Ernie Pyle, who died while on assignment in Okinawa, Japan. 

Pyle was a military correspondent during World War II and covered the war from the viewpoint of a soldier. A Japanese sniper killed Pyle a year after he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944.

Columnists across the country play an important role in people’s lives. Whether it’s your local sports columnist, or someone with national recognition, they all have an important responsibility to make people aware, smile, laugh, think or understand. 

Columnists go beyond the script of a hard news story and offer a glimpse from their personal perspectives. 

I urge everyone to write their favorite columnist and show appreciation! 

Xavier Smith is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr.

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