Journal 6: This Came Out a Lot Like a Narrative

You’ve done it! You have awarded me my first C on an essay, the sharp consonant in all of its glory. I have never gotten a C, not on my writing. I have gotten very few responses to my writing that haven’t been full of praise. Don’t take my introduction as some sort of petty, angry response, I can assure you it’s definitely not. I’m thankful for the C, even if it jeopardizes my GPA. I need this sad C to humble myself, and to realize that college will definitely be different from high school. WARNING: If I’m going to write a piece that isn’t literary analysis, I hope you’re prepared for the sarcasm and anecdotes. I would hate to turn in something that allows for such creative freedom without harnessing that power and making it something worth writing— or reading.

Picture this, I’m sitting on my bed at 2 AM struggling to find the right words to string together to make my first college essay sound something like “brilliant”, I’ve been fighting with the letters for hours now and nothing seems to be coming together. Once I notice the sun creeping in through my blinds, I decide to throw it together. I tossed that essay like a salad, but something in me was okay with that, for the first time in my life. I figured, “This is what I do, I write. This essay will be just fine.” To my dismay, it was quite the opposite. In fact, I would go as far to call this essay a train wreck. I managed to somehow forget what it meant to be coherent in writing, I basically pin-balled my way between the margins and hoped for the best. At least, it didn’t feel that way. This essay felt something like falling out of a seven-story building, something like quadratic equations or astrophysics, like “learning a sport like skiing for the first time”. The disconnect with my effort and my result remain unclear to me, but it wasn’t as if I wasn’t trying to “ski”, it just felt like I was facing the wrong way and I told myself to keep going.

I humbly thank you for the C I have deserved, I have felt like a “good writer” for as long as I can remember, not that this necessarily makes me a bad one, but it feels as if it was useful in putting me in a place where I can learn, rather than just listen. There’s this film, it’s called “The Art of Getting By”, I’d give a 6/10, it’s relatively mediocre but I always catch myself loving the themes within it and the plot itself. There is a part where the protagonist is admitting to his mentor that, “I don’t know what to paint.” (Evidently, the protagonist longs to be an artist.) His mentor replies, “The fact that you struggle with it is a really good thing.” This may seem like I’m heading off track, but bear with me. Receiving a C, shows me that I struggle with my writing. This struggle would mean little to nothing to me if I didn’t plan on spending the rest of my days writing, but I do.

If I were to break this down and just answer the prompt you’d assigned, my response would be this: Before this essay, I felt cocky. Now, I am humbled and more willing to take direction from others on how to write. Before this essay, I took some notes and drafted a few times. But for my second essay, I outlined, drafted four times, reverse outlined, and wrote a personal summary to see if I thought it could flow. I’m honestly at a loss with my second essay and I do not admire it, but it’s all guess and check right now, so I’ll let you decide if I’ve improved. I feel as if my second essay is much more organized and coherent, but it’s quite boring to me, to be painfully honest. I’m learning, I know I’m learning because I’m frustrated, the threshold between where I was and where I will be is being manipulated. I’m experiencing the learning curve, I’m just not in my favorite spot right now.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. stephabbot says:

    I think this is an awesome post! You make writing an essay sound like you are faced with a fire breathing dragon that you must defeat. I think we can all get a bit big for our boots sometimes when it comes to writing, especially when you have a lot people who might praise you to be kind. It’s only when you have someone who can really look at your work through an outside perspective, that you can get honest criticism. Can’t wait to read more from you!


  2. Natalie says:

    “I’m learning, I know I’m learning because I’m frustrated, the threshold between where I was and where I will be is being manipulated.”

    I love this line. So true! 🙂 I like how you grapple with this assignment in a fun way, allowing yourself creative freedom even in a piece that doesn’t require it. Awesome! The more you write, the better you’ll get.

    Write on! 🙂


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