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Human history began around 3200 BCE when the Sumerians began writing into clay tablets with reeds. In the following years, writing developed independently in a variety of cultures, in China, Peru, and Egypt. Writing allowed for a new type of information sharing that would pass knowledge down from one generation to another. 5,000 years later, Steve Jobs would unveil the iPhone that would help a young bespectacled brown boy become a writer.

My first smartphone wasn’t a functional phone. It was a water-damaged iPhone 5 that my brother bequeathed to me during my sophomore year of high school. My parents didn’t want to get service on a semi-functional phone, so I used it as a glorified iPod Touch that I called my iFauxne (I’ve always been really smart and clever). Even though the Fauxne was prone to turning off randomly, it was still a revelation for me, giving me access to the holy app of iMessage. Gone were the 160 character limits of SMS on a terrible dumbphone keyboard! Now, I could stop texting my friends long paragraphs over 12 texts that they didn’t want to read and start texting them long paragraphs in 1 text that they didn’t want to read!

I grew up hating writing, which was weird for a shy bookworm. I always had a lot of thoughts that I wanted to share, but they would come out as half-baked phrases, rather than anything truly readable. I learned how to write in the stiff academic tone that school papers required, but I never found a way to develop my own voice. I would buy notebooks, planning to use them to journal my life and finally figure it out, but it never happened.

With the Fauxne, I suddenly had a way to talk about and capture my life in a way that didn’t feel boring. I didn’t have to be alone with my thoughts (thank god), and I could connect with my friends by sharing what was going on in my life in spite of how boring it was. I quickly became notorious as a paragraph texter, finding ways to add flourish to my friends, so it seemed like I actually did things on the weekend other than watch Naruto and go to Target with my mom. In this way, texting people I didn’t even talk to in school, I started to find my writing style. Each conversation was a chance for me to make jokes about the mundane and to find humor where there wasn’t any. I didn’t have to contend with my shyness or the shakiness of my voice when I got nervous. It was liberating and addicting, taking up way too much of time. Thankfully, I started blogging soon after and began thinking about forms of writing that didn’t seem to disappear immediately.

Now that I write for fun, my texts have gone from being a training ground for finding a way of communication to being a form of source material. David Sedaris, one of my favorite essayists, is known for keeping incredibly detailed diaries of the mundane and strange things he sees in his life. With 40 years’ worth of material to work with, Sedaris converts these diaries into essays, filled with humor and absurdity but always grounded to reality. Since I’m way lazier than him, I’ll often screenshot text conversations or save messages I send to return to when brainstorming new newsletters and pretend like I’m anywhere as skilled as him.

It’s fun to think that the things that my parents would get annoyed at in high school may have had a big impact on developing one of the most important things in my life (writing). I have to wonder if my life would be drastically different if my brother hadn’t been so clumsy with his phone and a body of water or if Steve Jobs hadn’t helped to create a phone that would barely survive such an encounter. Maybe I would’ve wasted less time texting and become the next Albert Einstein! Or maybe not. 
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With alacrity,

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Nikhil · 325327 Georgia Tech Station · Atlanta, GA 30332 · USA

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