Edited by Tom Glass
During my first semester attending Purdue University, I took a preliminary English composition writing class.
We have five big assignments to account for this class, and the first assignment was a brief biography of ourselves. The next four assignments are one set of sequenced writing on a specific topic.
Mine was on shopping as an activity, and the financial aspects of it as well as the joy of it. Just for the fun of writing, I wrote another piece for extra credit.
I hope I can share with you the simple joy of reading and writing.
“…and the one with the highest score for this term’s essay writing examination is… Stacia!” Mr. Jai Simman, the English teacher of class secondary 4 Faraday, hollered across the classroom. It had always been this rowdy in class, where everyone would be chattering away without a care in the world to the teacher’s lecture. The moment Mr. Jai finished his last sentence, everyone paused for a brief moment, and then burst into cheers. I sat there quietly in front of the teacher’s desk, wondering why my standard of writing was considered to be this great throughout these past few years. In the midst of the cheers, I stared at the white wall blindly, contemplating my recent teenage years while trying to figure out the answer I was looking for.
A few years ago, I finally turned into a young adult. During my four years of attending secondary school, I had my first encounters with the problems teenagers normally face during puberty. Just as the other perspectives of my life have changed, the writing aspect, too, has changed. I had my first period, first crush, first quarrels with my parents, and many other first experiences during this time. As a tool to express my emotions towards these problems, I started to write them all down inside my very first journal.
During those times when I had no one to talk to, I tend to write down how I feel about a certain difficulty that has been bothering me. It allows me to ponder on the problem again so as to draw the ways in which I can overcome the obstacle myself. The more I write, the more I feel better.
After a few months of writing mainly about my current concerns, I felt that there was something missing. I had an urge to write more, not only about myself, but also about the fields of study that I am interested in and the recent news and events occurring in the society. Apparently they all could not possibly emerge out of my head, so that was when I started to read magazines, fiction novels, non-fiction books, and the newspaper. Eventually I cultivated a lot of arguments and responses to every little fact I digested from these media, and then I wrote them all down in my journal in detail. From there I found another difficulty in writing. I wrote so extensively that I had to buy two or three diaries at once, so I moved on to writing online web blog instead.
Blogging is far more convenient than writing in journals. The entries you typed online will be saved on the web, not on a book that a careless person like me can lose easily. However, the huge difference is that it’s exposed to publicity. Anyone browsing the Internet can view the pages once they know the URL, so I take considerations on the issues I would like to talk about on my entries, such as my personal life and my opinions on a certain subject.
On my personal life issues, I tend to describe more about the personal problem I have instead of how I feel about it when writing in my journals. On the other hand, it is the other way round when it comes to blogging. I don’t reveal specific names of people due to the exposure to publicity. Therefore, it is common to find people asking about what exactly I was talking about in the commenting system. Fortunately, the most frequent viewers of my blog are those that have close relations to me, so most of the time I leave the question about my problems unanswered.
Nevertheless, I don’t leave all problems unsolved. The bombarding questions brought up by public matters must not be ignored. Take the example of one of my recent entries about President Bush and the annual State of the Union speech. The question is: Should we or should we not continue the Iraq war and help them to build a new form of government? I have pointed out that I agree with the Democrats and the Republicans to oppose President Bush who chose to proceed the war. I have my answer, but most of the readers of my blog don’t comment much about public issues like this. Probably because of the finite awareness of the community, or maybe it is an unfit topic for the majority of people in my age group. Most of the sixteen-year-olds nowadays are not really into politics, and I understand that. However, I continue writing about my responses to these issues not only because I am interested, but also mainly because a blog is accessible to anyone, so I have to retain the public element of the blogging system. In addition to that, every blogger has the right to write about anything they want to write about in their blogs.
To me, blogging is a form of freedom of speech. Whether your entries are mundane or philosophical, or broad or limited, it is all up to the blogger to decide. Therefore, I have unrestricted boundaries whenever I type a blog entry. However, this was probably how I developed my difficulty in making short sentences when writing an essay. To me, there has to be detailed information behind every topic I raised. I feel the need to describe every moment spent using all of the human’s five senses. This is why I have always chosen to write descriptive essays rather than narrative or argumentative ones.
One particular example of my descriptive essays is the one sitting right in front of me right now – the one that won the heart of my English teacher this term. There was no particular plot in the essay, just detailed descriptions of the lavish lifestyle of the rich and famous residing in Orange Country, California. You can tell that I took note of the five senses of human beings to describe the rich imagination in my head by reading the phrases such as the smell of cocktails and champagnes, magenta bedroom of pillows cloaked in periwinkle blue, and on each footstep you’ll hear someone yells. This is usually how I guide myself to writing descriptions, with the occasional relations to the pop culture such as the phrases “pink frills of Versace dresses and rich district, comparable to Bill Gates’ home. I find this approach to be effective in raising the reader’s interest into my writing. It enables them to be able to relate my story to themselves, thus enjoying reading the essay more.
“Hey! Stand up and celebrate! You have just got a box of chocolates from Mr. Stefen!” the class monitor suddenly tapped me on my back and yelled. All I wanted to do was daydream about residing in Orange County until my other subject grades were given out. I heaved a deep sigh and dragged my foot grudgingly towards the noisy crowd. Well, at least I get chocolates for writing well; you’ll never know what’s waiting for you if you take great effort to something. “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get,” as told by the popular movie Forrest Gump. I smiled to myself and started munching the lovely heart-shaped chocolate that first caught my eye. Yummy.
Very nice first paper! It is well written, and the thing I like best is that your personality comes through clearly in the way you write and in the examples you choose. Those specific examples, and the personal touches you added to make this paper unique, really made it enjoyable to read.
Let me explain your score for content. Actually, in many ways I appreciated what you wrote about—especially, as I said, when you were giving specific examples. The thing I want to caution you about is that you spent so much time describing your blogging habits that you didn’t have much chance to tell about any other kinds of writing you’ve done in your life. I understand that you want to focus on your journal and blogging—that’s fine, and you did that well—but I just want to remind you not to ignore other types of writing you have done, in order to completely fulfill the assignment of writing your “autobiography.”
In any case, I am very pleased with your writing here. Your personality and your interest in expressing yourself through writing really shine through. I hope you will be proud to make this paper part of your blog very soon!
One of the pleasures of being a geek while I was in school is to creatively express my thoughts and receive credits for doing it. It’s how my love for writing grows over time.
Take a moment to reflect: Who are you? What do you enjoy doing? What can you honestly say in your autobiography?