Isn’t it interesting how far we have come

in our writing? Maybe it is just me, but looking back into the re-purposing assignment has really got me thinking about the leaps I have made in my writing over the period of just a year. I went through many of my previous writing assignments to find the perfect essay to recreate in a different context/genre/whatever. What I found was that not only did I find the one i wanted to use for this assignment, I ended up wanting to rewrite many papers in general! This semester I am taking two English classes and it is the first time since freshman year. Not to say that I haven’t taken some pretty extensive writing classes since then. I never thought I would say it but a 12 page paper no longer seems like a “long paper.” The difference here is that I was graded mostly on my ideas and how relevant they were to the course, not necessarily how they were presented and the style/tone of my writing. Since taking English 325 and becoming more immersed in the writing minor, I am once again learning how to edit a paper and make it the best possible format for my argument. I am really happy that this is the case because it reconfirms my belief that I am still an OK writer–something that I needed to convince myself after looking back.

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Writing is on my mind..

So when asked to write about anything writing related that is on our minds, I couldn’t help but jump at this chance. Any other semester, I don’t think I have spent more than 20 minutes “thinking” about writing. Yes, it is true that I must write for my other classes, but I have never consciously thought about how it made me feel or really anything bayond the initial argument. However, this semester, with two english classes and a writing minor all coming at me at once, it seems that I cannot even help but think about writing.

In my English 325 class, the art of the creative nonfiction, I was required to write a personal narrative. There were no page limits, no themes we must abide to, only the expanse of “me” that I was told was the subject and narrator of this piece. When I went to type up a few thoughts, my mind went completely blank. It was as if any experience that I had ever had to shape or define me had been deemed insignificant, not by anyone else but by myslelf. I can’t say that there is anything scarier than not having faith in your life, yourself, your beliefs, goals, etc. And this is how i felt after realizing that was happening to me. Here is a little blurb of my almost finished essay:

Much like how I would consider myself a dancer, I have labeled myself a writer in recent years. It has come easily to me in the specific contexts in which I am forced to practice. However, when met with the task of the creative nonfiction essay, I was challenged. As I faced this daunting task, I was unsure if there was anything else that I have done in my time at the university that has made me as uncomfortable. Instead of stepping up and documenting one of the hundreds of instances in life that has shaped me, defined me, or labeled me, I refused to look introspectively into myself for fear of uncovering vulnerability within my soul that I was unwilling to revisit. Even with the encouragement of others, I felt that this simple task was just something that I would be unable to do. Looking back, I can see that this may be trait that has defined me throughout my life.

I am done letting this mindset define me. Writing is on my mind, and I am incredibly thankful. I truly do not know if I would have come to that conclusion without it.

Writing for Bronte. And for myself.

Although I know that the purpose of this is to write like Charlotte Bronte, I have yet to exercise my skills as a literary genius who is able to so fluidly present something that is so meaningful and yet, so beautiful. However, after much careful thought into what exactly drew me to this piece that I have chosen, I think I will be able to achieve this task in a way of my own. It may not be in her personal style, but I chose this because it engaged my mind and it related to me personally. Not only in life, but also in why I write. Bronte states, through her character Jane, that women are placed in too strict social restraints. Could it be, that subconsciously I chose this passage because I write to break free of those norms? Women have been socialized to be the opposite of men. By embracing femininity and all it has to offer, we will be able to distinguish the two opposite sexes and their characteristics. Honestly, I know that I do conform to these ideals. It has been ingrained in us since the time we were infants. However, i think that I write as a testament to myself that I do not have to submit. I use writing as  a method of self-development, and by creating a persona within my social creation of “self,” I am able to encompass all the traits that I may fear (even subconsciously) to display in the “real world.” To me, this is a reflection of Bronte’s work. Although not beautiful or fluid, it answers a question by proving a point. I am hoping it is something she would be proud of.

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When thinking of a passage that I find both intellectually engaging and well-written, I immediately think of something that I have read for a class that I have kept or something that made me think and develop ideas after reading. However, sometimes I really dislike this way of thinking, almost as if school is preventing me from really learning. I do not thin that the only things we are going to learn from in life and during our years in school will be in class. Although it is a classic literaty work, I have picked a passage from Jane Eyre by Bronte to signify a piece that I feel is both intellectually engaging and well-written.

I could not help it; the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes. Then my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third story, backwards and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot, and allow my mind’s eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it—and, certainly, they were many and glowing; to let my heart be heaved by the exultant movement . . . and, best of all, to open my inward ear to a tale that was never ended—a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence. It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.

 

When I first read this book in 9th grade, I was able to completely relate with the character of Jane even though she was not initially considered representative of present day women. However, I believe that the reason I had those initial feelings of camaraderie with the heroin is  because her feelings of entrapment within a society and living up to those societal norms are something that all can relate to. After becoming a bit more well versed and knowledgeable about women’s issues, I am able to see how the central theme of imprisonment runs deep throughout and a book that continues to force us to think about those restraints is one that will forever be intellectually challenging and in some cases even uncomfortably so.

Wait.. Why do I write?

I forget what it is exactly I like about writing every time I go to start a new assignment (which, in social science concentrations, happens frequently). Instead of focusing on the task at hand or better yet, my opinion on the subject, I focus on the page limit and the due date. It usually isn’t until halfway through the assignment, when words and ideas are flowing naturally, that I remember writing is and always has been, one of the best ways for me to express myself.

Both Orwell and Dillion know their reasons to write. It may have taken each a few failed works (but every book is a failure according to Orwell), poverty, and too much work for too little gained,  but in the end, they became successful because they believed in why they were doing what they were doing. This leads me to wonder, Do I know why I write? At twenty years old, it seems that I have not experienced my own writing enough to even begin to understand this. However, I think I know. I think I have known since I wrote my first speech in the fourth grade; a speech that I won and for which  I earned recognition.

I write to organize my ideas in ways that I would never be able to express verbally. I write to organize my ideas, period. Writing, for me, is a method of self-discovery.  I can’t say that I would have a strong opinion on how Italian Politics shaped Italian Cinema in the 1940s or the anthropological views of gender and sexuality if it were not for the assignments that forced these ideas upon me. However, once complete, when I can stand firmly in my beliefs and I am willing to expose them others,  this is when I remember that I, too, am a writer. I have ideas that are important and that deserve to be heard.

I suppose this is where the egotism plays in. But, in reality, doesn’t everyone want and even deserve recognition at some point? There is a negative connotation to the word “egotism,” and yet, I believe that it is a good thing. Recognition, no matter how it is achieved, is important. There are numerous outlets for positive recognition, and without them our world would not expand and develop in the way it does.

Both Orwell and Dillion bring up points that left me pondering why I write. Although they have shaped my opinion with words that I am able to utilize and ideas that make me remember there is a reason, I think that I have known all along why I write. Perhaps this “why” will change and perhaps it won’t. Maybe there will be times when I can’t remember one positive thing about my writing experiences. However, for now, I know. And honestly, isn’t that all that matters?