Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Origin of the Writing Species

I found a box full of my stuff this Sunday. Among this stuff was a manila folder, stuffed mostly with all the work I turned in for my English Honor's Core class. My sophomore year in high school was the year I really began to shine in the subject of English (my favorite), and read the works of the greats like Shakespeare, Hawthorne and Poe.

My sophomore year was also the year I first tried my hand at creative writing with a short story I titled "You Have Beautiful Hair," and written with my bicycle-loving childhood in mind. This folder I found is a treasure trove, as far as I'm concerned, because it is pretty much the origin of my love for writing.

Looking at all I wrote during that year, and seeing the progress I've made since then, I've had a newfound respect for the progress and growth I am still making for myself, by myself. I've also been getting a good laugh at my at times incoherent writing, mostly about literature.

One short piece I wrote about Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat made me laugh so hard, I am giggling as I write this. First, I summarized the short story with the worst possible composition, and then gave my bold opinion. "I disliked this story," I wrote, "because Poe uses his way of confusing his reader by taking subjects that are not mentioned in the story a lot and putting them in deadly positions, like the way he killed his wife, who wasn't mentioned a lot in the story, his repulsive way of describing the ripping of his cat's eyes, I just thought it was pointless and with no real theme." That is the exact way it was written all those years ago, and though I ought to be embarassed, I am more amused by my clueless criticism, and horrible punctuation and sentence structure. One comfort is my style of criticism, which is still alive and kicking.

I have yet to read my short story and laugh at it, but I did find a letter from my sophomore year English teacher, Mrs. Ritchey, who knew something about me way before I knew it, despite my comical writing style.

Mrs. Ritchey wrote:

I see in Reem a potential for a good writer and able critic, and I certainly recommend that she continues her work towards this end.

Also, in the folder, I found physical evidence of my daydreaming nature embodied in the description of my sanctuary in a place not unlike Walt Whitman's sanctuary in Walden.

It was a nice find, and I am glad I held on to these works of mine to remind myself of just how much I've grown and still have to grow in everything, not just writing.

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