Do you know what I hate most about English? I always have thoughts circulating in my brain and can’t put my ideas or feelings into the right words. Part of the reason is because I don’t have the best SAT vocabulary but another part is because, well, I always feel like I need to have my thoughts organized into perfect paragraphs to present my thoughts to someone who might be reading it fathomable and coordinated.
Which just ruins just about everything. I end up erasing amazing ideas that don’t correlate well when I spit out my thoughts out on paper and adding in details that I conjure in my head while editing that tie into the subject well. But sometimes these last minute details I add to my subject are just transitions to help the reader understand my thoughts better. Which I guess are good, but I just want to get to the point when I write. I’m doing this write now just writing this post! Whenever I write blog posts, I try my best to just barf out the points I want to say and then edit it later.
I feel like in school, we write to please our readers but mostly our teachers. I was taught in first grade to start every writing prompt with, “Hi, my name is _______ and I am going to tell you about..”. I’m serious! I kept writing like that for the next year until Mrs. White, my way eccentric second grade teacher
raised her eyebrows at me with a red pen in hand as she crossed the topic sentence Ms. Severson (my 1st grade teacher) had taught me. Which confused me. How else was I supposed to start a sentence?
And then I managed to pull through for the next couple of years, having my peers edit my pieces for various writing prompts. I knew for sure I was supposed to have five paragraphs; the first an introduction (
do I start my topic sentence with a rhetoric question?) and at the end with a conclusion where I basically summarized the introduction with one huge “BA BING” idea that presented my opinion on the subject. Yeah, I thought I was pretty much set for life with this five paragraph template. And then I entered AP English. My teacher presented us with a “Why I [insert verb here]” essay along with a couple of example essays from famous writers with their essays titled “Why I Write”. After reading a few of these essays, a too-familiar feeling of deja vu crept on me from first grade. Confusion. How else was I supposed to write an essay?
In my AP English class today, my teacher passed out papers titled the word, “Essay by Daniel Coffeen”. I thought to myself, this is quite interesting, after all, titles are supposed to reel readers into their paper and if my teacher wasn’t passing this out I would’ve just passed this as a rough draft written by a middle schooler, but since he was passing it out, it captivated me. Is this title an example of reverse physiology? Something that wasn’t supposed to interest me but did anyway?
So the only thing I could guess about this essay titled “Essay” was that it was going to be a piece mocking essays, and I was slightly right but Daniel Coffeen’s (the author of “Essay”) approach towards typical essays was through logic, not a satire. He had a total of nine short paragraphs which had each consecutive paragraph with different imagery. He described his thoughts as “constellations [that] crystallize and dissipate” and that he too is “forced to find connections” within writing. I can totally relate. That is why I hate in class essays. Because we are forced to write and find connections from the writing prompt. And I know what you’re going to say, yes, it’s good to practice, but wouldn’t you want the best writing product that comes from me? With the best ideas and points? Give me more time! Despite all my complaints against essays, writing is still exhilarating to me. I’m presenting my thoughts to you, reader! I’m writing to please you!
I’m going to admit it. I am terrible at writing essays. I try my best not to write essays with huge SAT words that I don’t really know how to use because I have read countless pieces of writings from my peers and even adults that use huge words that are not used correctly, which just makes the piece unreadable because the only thing I’m thinking is “Wow… this person didn’t even have the time to look up this word in a dictionary!” And then I have to keep structure in mind too.
Ugh. And then sometimes I lose these ideas. But most of all, I am the worst at putting my thoughts into words. It’s all in my head. And then I try to spit it out on paper and it just turns to word vomit. And then I try to edit it again. And then the meaning I was trying to convey just changes completely.
So I’m going to try right now to write an Essay. With my Brain. See how jumbled my thoughts are.
I’m sitting downstairs alone, in the dark, with only Christmas tree lights and a lit up laptop screen as the light
guiding me to the pearly gates of perfect writing. Ideas flying everywhere. Where do I start? I feel a sense of peace and calmness in my quiet abode, with only the soft buzz of Christmas lights and She & Him’s Christmas album playing quietly on Spotify. It’s getting quite cold downstairs even though I have a sweater, pajama pants, and fuzzy socks on. I have so many ideas to write I’ve probably read this blog post around 3 times, trying to warp my thoughts to perfectly portray what is going on in this brain of mine through this blog post that is getting way too long. I’m inviting you into my head. How are we supposed to write the ideas into essays when our mind isn’t even organized? Is that what peer editing is for? What is the point of this little essay I’m writing? Aha, I got you, don’t look for a point, let me lead you to my point. Have I made an even better point with the annoying cross outs throughout this post?
Think about it.