Realizations

Who are you? What defines you as a person? What do you want to do with your life? Why do you write? All of these questions, as I’m sure you agree, are extremely loaded. I can not describe the frustrating relationship that I’ve had struggling with each and every single one of these questions, however most recently, we’ve all been asked our to describe our reasoning and motivation behind why we choose to write. This essay was challenging for me to begin because, in all honestly, I could have taken so many different approaches. It is impossible to pinpoint one or two distinct reasons why I choose to write; it is rather a combination of hundreds of different reasons: stress, expression, passion, ability, power, influence, desire, change, drive, because I have to etc. Although it is creatively important to identify what exactly causes one’s desire to write, I find it hard to fit these reasons into a 1200 word essay.

I competitively swam throughout my entire childhood. In a typical day, I would wake up at 4:45am, work out, go to school, work out from 3:00pm-6:00pm, do homework, and go to bed. Repeat. Although I realize this does not seem remotely appealing to the vast majority of people, I have to say that swimming was the one thing that got me through the most. The awkward middle school years, the drama of high school, fighting with a boyfriend, friend or parent, and a variety personal challenges. In my essay, I describe what swimming is to me. How it made me feel. It was the only time in a day that I didn’t have to to do anything I didn’t want to do, didn’t have to obey the rules of society, and didn’t have to listen to anyone but myself and my own thoughts. You can’t hear anything underwater, it’s the perfect escape. As I applied to colleges, I received scholarships all around the state to continue swimming, but school has always been my number one priority, (not to mention my entire family is obsessed with UofM, go blue!) thus I decided to attend the University of Michigan, which ultimately meant I had to give up swimming competitively. In the past year and a half, I have come to realize the immense impact swimming had on my life, both physically and mentally. However, towards the beginning of winter semester last year, I developed a strong love/hate relationship with writing, which was a huge step up from the hate/hate relationship I had previously. Writing, it seemed, had filled the gap that swimming had once occupied. As with swimming, writing is the only place I can escape reality; the only place where it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I can’t say that writing is as refreshing as diving into the pool at 5:00am, but as I mature as a student, it has made itself an acceptable substitute.

Why do I think this piece is so hard?  Because it’s personal. It’s raw. And in all honesty, it’s pretty scary. It’s scary to see how much we grow up, how much we drift away from things we were once so passionate about. But at the same time, it’s incredible. It’s incredible to watch the journey within ourselves from point “A” to point “B”, and how we come to love things that we never did in the past. So yes, this piece is challenging, but overcoming writer’s block is what it means to be a successful writer! Good luck on your essays everyone!

Call Me Old-Fashioned

In the opening paragraph of his essay, Orwell boldly asserted that “from a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, [he] knew that when [he] grew up [he] should be a writer.” This assertion immediately grabbed my attention, as it seems unlikely that a child of such a young age would know what he/she wanted to become. However as I gave more and more thought to this statement, I realized that I, myself, have wanted to be a surgeon since the tender age of nine. Although Orwell discovered his true calling three or four long years before I was able to, we both discovered our passions early on in life. This realization led me to believe that I would agree with Orwell on a number of different stylistic levels. I was right.

In terms of the ever-so-broad question, “Why I Write”, I must say that my writing style most closely identifies with Orwell’s love of language, his “joy of mere words” and his ability to rearrange words on a page in such an artistic manner. I enjoy manipulating words in a way that makes a reader think. Writing, to me, is not simply words on a page, but rather a canvas on which I can paint a picture much larger than words. How? Symbolism. Allusions. Descriptions. Metaphors. The possibilities are endless. There is nothing I hate more than reading a piece of writing that is simply a blank canvas with a few 12pt font, times new roman words spattered upon it, jumbled around to form a couple of sentences. Boring. Anyone could do that. Literally anyone. According to the infinite monkey theorem, given enough time, a monkey typing at random could produce perfect copies of Shakespeare’s plays. Google it. What makes a piece of writing a piece of art is the author’s ability to consume readers by painting a picture so vivid that it feels as though they are a part of the story, which is how I felt as I read Jeffery Eugenides’ novel “Middlesex”.

While reading the novel, I was constantly engaged intellectually and artistically by being thrown around from heavy topic to heavy topic. How do you characterize a book that presents themes of racial changes in the 1960’s, incest, gender identity, immigration, striving for the American Dream, and sexual promiscuity? The answer is: you can’t. Eugenides excels at drawing his readers into an inescapable, controversial world riddled by allusions to Detroit in the 1960’s. Although I may be biased due to growing up near Detroit, I believe that Eugenides not only produced a best-selling novel, but he also produced a work of art; a 3 dimensional canvas lathered with anI t indescribable amount of colors and sparkles (not that I care for sparkles all that much…). Regardless of my personal opinion of the novel, Eugenides clearly shares the same passion for words that both Orwell and I do. He expresses his love of language, and his ability to manipulate words in a manner that both stimulates and includes the reader, a feat that I find very challenging.

That being said, I have a small issue with the article written by Sullivan. Initially, I thought that Sullivan’s article was the most relevant to me, and due to the cultural changes over the last fifty to sixty years, it is probably the most accurate descriptor of my daily life. However in his essay, the sentence “…the deadline is always now” struck me as an unfortunate characteristic of our generation. Why must everything be now? Impatience is, without a doubt, on the rise in our culture and I believe that it has negatively affected the level of creativity, and effort put forth in today’s literature. We all remember reading authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemmingway, and Mark Twain…but which authors will future generations remember about us? Stephanie Meyer? I sincerely hope not (sorry Twilight fans). I have never understood why society has to move at such a rapid pace, but it is unacceptable to assume that the creative process of writing ought to move as quickly. Writing, as previously mentioned, is a process. So, next time you’re writing an essay at 1:30am hyped up on red bull just trying to squeeze out 500 more words, just take a breather. Writing is an art, not a race.