Life Without the Letter ‘B’

Writing is difficult. It can come easy all the time, or only part of the time, or it doesn’t come easy at all. What is the one thing all successful writers have in common though? They sit down and write. They carve out a length of time, make no excuses, and they write. They do it, no matter what. It could result in twenty pages or two words, and it isn’t always great. It’s not even always decent. Getting the words onto the paper (or the computer) is more than half the struggle. Then there’s the struggle of what to write.

Somewhere along my way of trying to find inspiration recently, there was a prompt that challenged people to write with only twenty-five letters, instead of the usual twenty-six. So that is what I am doing today—trying to write, and imagine life, without a letter.

When I was trying to choose which letter to ignore, I found myself faced with two options: write the whole post first and then cut out a letter afterwards, or write the whole post without the letter from the start. It turned into a little of each option, as I found it difficult to even start knowing that something was already missing. My initial thought, for whatever reason, was to eliminate “t.” Then how would I use the word “letter” to explain the writing challenge though? I didn’t want to choose an uncommon letter like “j” or “x” either, as it seemed too easy. Which one could I eliminate, even temporarily, without entirely changing the tone, syntax, or the very essence of my writing?

And then I realized—I couldn’t.

Getting rid of one letter seems easy enough, in theory at least. Yet when I sat down to actually write the words, they didn’t exist without those letters. I immediately thought of the rest of life—how if you were to eliminate any one part of something, even a tiny, seemingly insignificant part, would everything else still function the same? Would the ocean tides still sweep and flow without the pull of the moon? Would the plants still flower every season without the insects’ pollination? No, they wouldn’t.

Cloud 1

Drop one letter of a writing system and it may not create any magnificent cosmic shift, although people would surely take notice. Languages would alter, speech patterns would change, and novels might lose their magic. Much of my life has revolved around my capacity to use words to create, express, communicate, and most importantly, to tell stories. I would feel lost in the world if a letter somehow disappeared one day. Whether the stories are mine or of my own imagination, or someone else’s entirely, how would they fare without a “g” or an “s?” How would we identify names or cities if they lacked the first letter? Would the words change entirely or just continue to function without their missing letters? Of course people could work around a single missing letter, however, it would still throw things off to some degree.

Just one little difference is enough to leave an impression. The same is true for the rest of the things in the universe, I imagine. Delete a small part of a whole and the ‘whole’ changes, as well as many of other ‘small parts’ and ‘wholes.’ It sets off a chain reaction—the more those smaller things are changed, the more that ultimately changes. If someone says that small things or people or ideas can’t make an impact, there is no truth there. If you start small, everything will follow.


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