Oh! silly teenage love

As I rummaged through an old metallic suitcase (that has been shelving all my books from upper primary through secondary school) searching for a poetry book, I came across a letter I wrote to one Diana while in P5. Seeing the extravagant diction I had employed then left me in chocking with laughter. No, it was not only the diction; there was something as well. A fortnight to this incident, I had met Roe who works at the Media Center. She  had with her a copy of a file she downloaded from the Internet. “Do you remember the times we used dictionaries to write letters?” she asked whilst handling me the file. “Read and laugh at your own experience as a teen.” It was a love letter, with the reply from the girl. During the meeting, I didn’t like the file that much, but now seeing that I very much belonged to the same bracket of braggadocio a decade or so ago. I wonder why we behaved that way. Face it. As teens, we all passed through a stage of intimacy. You begin to feel for that girl next door in P5, and there is the need to communicate. Often times, you have to write to each other. That is where we had to impress. Since you could already impress with your looks, and money, when you wrote, it had to leave the recipient wondering if you were growing up in an English family- you had to be exaggerated with your diction. Here is a slightly edited version of one of the letters from Henry, an old old friend: “Time and ability plus double capacity has forced my pen to dance automatically on this benedicted (sic) sheet of paper. I love you spontaneously and as I stand horizontal to the wall and perpendicular to the ground I only think of you, since you are fantastic and fabulous.” “Please stop haranguing with the feelings in my heart, “Each time I see you, my metabolism suddenly stops and my peristalysis goes in reverse gear. My medulla oblangata stops functioning. If only knew what is going on in my encephalon. I think I have to pen off hear because I still haven’t finished studying electrolysis and polymerization.” I am at a loss of words. For the recipient to understand a word of this, she had to have a dictionary at hand. Actually, she needed a poetry dictionary to grasp what Henry, like many other teens of our days had written. Then there confusion of words like Henry says each time he sees his love, his metabolism stops and his peristalysis goes in reverse gear. Did he mean he threw up whenever he saw his love? Kids! But even the reply Henry got points to something like a war of diction. Mary wrote: “My sugar, I was exasperated with pride to have received one from you, the lungs in my body flapped with joy when I read your letter. Well here everything is just half-lemon, half sugar to make it Schweeps (remember that soda) Right now, my heart is perambulating with every word that I write. Please always write to me because I am missing you like sugar misses tea,” Although hyperbole would stand out in such letters, its not the only poetic device. Alliteration (two or more words with the same sound), assonance (partial rhyme with the same internal vowel sounds amongst different words), metaphors and similes (indirect and direct comparisons using words, ‘like’ or ‘as’ or not using them and onomatopoeia (words that sound like their meaning. For example, buzz, bomb), would be applied, unconsciously. Language is one of the most sophisticated cognitive skills we possess as humans. It expresses and shapes thought. I wonder if the Kisanja boys (those born after the floods) still indulge in pompous letter writing. In our days, the digital era was still a dream for the third  world. Today, we have internet, and mobile phones. Adolescents use these to communicate and yet the complexity of these gadgets means the user has to get the message across. That is why shorthand SMSs rule on phones. Those who surf on the net have to be fast or use more money to send just one email. 


Author: Herman Clive Quotes.

Am Ugandan, Writer, Information Junkie, love Activism for Human rights and Freedom.

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