I actually quite enjoyed writing this piece. The recent few months have been so abnormal, that it was nice looking back into the past, although it was not that normal either. I relished reliving the early memories I had with reading, and the ones I had with my frinds in my ESL class, some of which I am still good friends with. It was definanlty tough trying to remeber things that happened so long ago, especially the feeling I had during those moments, but since they were very important to me, they were still somewhere in my head. This wasn’t one of those writing pieces where I took many breaks in between, which I often do. I wrote my litteracy narative in one piece. This is probably because I actually had a lot to say about my reading background, and have not really thought about it in a long time. This was deffinantly one of those assignments that I am relly glad I got to do.
Read my Literacy Narrative here!
Writing has never been my strong suit, mainly because it’s never been my interest. A considerable amount of all the reading and writing I’ve done in my life has been out of compulsion. So, I was pretty surprised when I didn’t hate doing the Literacy Narrative after spending almost 6 months (since I finished High School) of not indulging in any writing. In fact, you could say I almost enjoyed it.
A large part of the reason for this is the free-writing exercise we did before drafting the actual essay. Admittedly, the exercise seemed tedious and futile initially– I’d never done anything like it in the past. However, I actually came up with my central theme– ‘a sense of community despite differences’– by picking out similarities and noticing patterns in the memories related to reading and writing I had listed as part of the exercise. It also allowed me to express my thoughts in an unfiltered and raw manner. I didn’t have to worry about sentence structure, grammar, spellings, word count or any of that ‘basic English stuff’. I could write down my ideas exactly as they appeared in my mind. I think this helped me produce a more honest piece, if nothing else.
The clear and straightforward message the narrative puts across is that differences amongst humans are not only inevitable, but also necessary. We need to acknowledge these differences, respect them, and forge relationships in spite of them. And all the stories and articles that I referred to have a similar lesson.
On a more personal level, however, I learnt several things about myself. I’m not exactly sure if I am pleased with these things, but they’re definitely intriguing and got me thinking. I realized that the reason I was drawn to the stories of so-called ‘outcasts’ is because I subconsciously considered myself to be relatively unorthodox (in terms of society’s standards) as well.
In conclusion, “Engaging with stories of strong interpersonal relationships between those who are conventionally ‘different’ gives me hope that maybe I’m not alone, in feeling alone.”
The controlling idea of my Literacy Narrative is my process in overcoming a crucial oversight as a reader and writer: the inability to think critically and analytically about writing. Through writing my Literacy Narrative, I actually saw the way I have improved as a writer, and the main thing I learned from this is that the relationship between learning/improving as a reader and writer and time is far from linear. Although from elementary to middle school my vocabulary expanded, my sentence structures became more sophisticated, and my ability to elaborate on some complex ideas improved, my analysis might have actually gotten worse. Conversely, when I actually did find ways to improve my analysis, my ability to explain complex points wasn’t fully up to par. I think the most important thing here is that I keep trying: this will keep me mindful of both strengths and weaknesses.
I enjoyed doing the pre-writing exercises; I haven’t really done free-writing in a long time. Free-writing kind of showed me that this problem I had to overcome was the defining aspect of me as a reader and writer. The main thing I learned about myself, though, is that habits control much of the processed behind my reading and writing. Doing a few small key things, such as dedicating time to think about a particular passage or jotting down some notes, can be hugely helpful. Finally, I think the sentence people might find the most interesting is this: “After I wrote the rough draft, it continued to degrade with each coming day; my daily tinkering, a result of weak analysis desperately trying to find something to hang onto, led to a thesis that was long, complex, and almost impossible to argue” (2). Typically, the wisdom goes that the more time you spend on an essay, the better it will be, but I think people might find that sentence interesting since it suggests something of an inverted-U curve, that at a certain point, i’ve written the best essay I can, and apart from trivial grammar fixes, changing any more of the thesis, evidence, or reasoning in the essay will actually make it worse.
The photo that has been utilized to represent my websites page is a custom image used by Jason McMillan (a YouTuber who produces music mash ups). In this specific song he chose to combine the songs Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lose Yourself to Dance by Daft Punk. This song was represented by the following as it shows the combine helmets of the Daft Punk Robots with a fruitful color dawned on them to represent the happy and relaxed tones of Anthony, Flea, and Co.
The reason that I have chosen this image is simple. I am a child of two similarity represented lineages. My father although I know him, I can not say much about the rest of his family and past. He is representative of the helmets by not revealing anything. My mothers family is open and warm hence they represents the dazzling colors that come from the R.H.C. side of the cover. These two lineages/songs are pushed into one image. Even though I may not be that secretive or super bubbly, I am a bit of both, so in some sense this is the perfect representation of me as a photo.
Honestly this was an interesting side quest. I read through the assignment and the directions and immediately tried figuring out what I wanted to combine. I personally don’t see myself as the creative type but I somehow managed to piece two pictures almost seamlessly. Of course I’ll get better as time goes on. I couldn’t find two pictures that had the exact same color bear but it’ll do. If we were to look at this picture in a more creative and figurative sense I would say my picture conveys the difference between real and fake. The fake teddy bear looks automatically artificial, anyone can look at it and see that it’s fake. But the real bear has an insane amount of detail in the photo, especially in the fur because it’s real it’s authentic. No matter how much you try to make something fake look real it won’t be possible because there are certain characteristics that you simply can’t catch.
I haven’t touched on that topic in a while. It was hard to do but it was relieving at the same time. There were a lot of repressed feeling and there still are some but everything always works out. After writing this out I realized how stubborn I am with my feelings. For the sake of pride I won’t let them out on certain occasions which I have to work on. I think the most interesting line from what I wrote was “I could only feel the black” because I feel as though so many people can relate to that.
I’m not completely sure what this will become and what I’m going to do with it – but if you’re reading this I guess you’re coming along for the ride!
The pre-writing activity helped me organize my thoughts and arrange them in order even before I started writing the main essay. Overall, I think the activity was very useful as a first assignment for an English course. Of course, my writing is rusty after months without practice. However, this activity got me to the “zone” and guided me towards improvements in the future as I will constantly work on my weaknesses after I receive my assessment from professor Morgen.
Speaking of the essay, I chose to present my learning curve in chronological order. I don’t think one’s reading or writing ability is elevated by one or two random transformative events, but rather improved subtly through time. I picked the moments that changed or made a big impact on the way I read and write. Prose was casual but it encapsulated my motto on writing: to write at an eighth grade level but with sophisticated ideas.
“Is that weird that I start my essay with a conversation,” a boy waved for my attention and asked. I hurried over, with a smile on my face, and replied, “There is no right or wrong in writing.”
The query and the anxiety etched on his face reminded me of my younger self in the writing class. Writing was one of my biggest fears. Fear of doing something wrong had once imprisoned my thoughts. One lesson, the teacher assigned a timed essay. Time marches on, there were only a few words and repeated phrases on the paper. Eraser shavings were all over my jeans. As the teacher walked across the classroom, I covered the paper with my hands hurriedly. Full of trepidation that my efforts would make me the subject of ridicule, I gripped the eraser and rubbed out the lines on the sheet again.
Then suddenly, the eraser slipped from my fingers to the floor before I could retrieve it, the teacher snatched it from reach, and made her way to the front of the class. “From now on, no one needs an eraser,” she announced. “There is no right or wrong in writing.”
My eraser had been my crutches, a way to guide me towards errorless. However, the teacher’s words were the turning point for me to realize that writing was not to be approached like solving a math problem, only one correct answer. So-called “mistakes” were the path towards exploration and self-expression. I resolved to continue without an eraser and proceed without consideration of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
Devoting full concentration, I wrote according to my inner feelings and personal insights. For an hour, my writing covered the whole page, hundreds of thoughts flowed from my pencil to the papar. As inspiration blossomed, I was so self-engrossed in the task that I was unaware the class had ended. Without noticing, my dependence on erasers gradually diminished.
Twelve years later, I signed up to be a writing class teaching assistant, and got the chance to look at versions of my younger self. Sitting in the corners, bundles of frustration, staring into near blank paper, pencil in one hand and an eraser in the other, they were all reluctant to let others see their writing, blind to their own capabilities. As I walked around the classroom, I understood both the journey I have been on and that my pupils were in the early stages of. Every class, the students were asking the questions that I used to ask, expressing the fears that I used to feel. They wanted to know how to correct what they evaluated as “errors” and were all despondent over “mistakes”. Like what my writing teacher has suggested for me, I encourage them to put down their erasers, at the same time, throw away their insecurities. ”There is no right or wrong in writing.” I said.
With a confident mindset we can grow creativity, rather than seeking to wipe away the unwanted. Similarly, we don’t possess “erasers” in life, learning from our mistakes and never repeating the same mistake is the way I turn them into valuable treasures.