So I’m Olivia. A sophomore here just trying to avoid grad school by having two majors and a minor while consuming my weight in chai lattes on a regular basis. I’m perpetually ill. I can’t be in Ann Arbor for longer than a week without getting sick. It’s quite a problem. Anyways, my goal is to be a journalist. I’d really like to travel and write because those are my two favorite things in the world so mixing the two would be ideal. I love Kanye, Seth Rogen movies, and dyeing my hair purple.
But I promise I’m not that interesting.
I began writing relatively young, in middle school and the midst of my teeny bopper angst. I rarely wore clothes that matched, preferring mismatched neon socks and tutus which garnered me the nickname “Punky Brewster” by the first English teacher who ever asked me to write for myself.
My class was tasked to write a poem about a wagon and I remember thinking that mine would be different from all of the red wagons my peers were dreaming up.
“Maybe I’ll make it blue, or rusty” I thought.
An hour later mine was red, just like all of the other 7th graders. Typical preteen peer pressure that made me surrender my difference.
I remember approaching writing as something that wasn’t mine; like I could never write something beautiful like Robert Frost, terrifying like Poe, or hilarious like Sedaris. It was something I didn’t feel I could fully grasp because more times than not my words stopped midway through a sentence and my ideas were like the jumbled mess of clothes on my bedroom floor after I do laundry. Middle school me retreated into herself and cliché-ly compared pillows to the likeness of clouds and the blueness of the girl’s eyes to the shimmering ocean.
None of this has told you explicitly how I write which is what it was supposed to do. To be quite honest when I wrote this I didn’t know where I was going with it and I didn’t care that I wasn’t directly following the prompt. It wasn’t until someone else had read it and told me their interpretation of how I write that I knew this was how I did it.
When I write, I strive for the difference I wasn’t able to achieve with that initial wagon.
Saying something new and exciting, something no one else has said before invigorates me. I have this crazy idea in my head that maybe someday my writing will change someone; make them feel something. When I sit down to put words on paper, no matter if it’s for a class or my column, I remember that sad red wagon that I didn’t give the chance at a life.
So every time I sit down to put word on paper I always remember that everything to come out of my mind into fruition has potential to change someone’s mind.
That is how I write; with purpose.
And I’ve resolved to never take a chance away from that poor little sixth grade wagon again.