The idea of my literacy narrative came from an experience I had back in the middle of middle school. My narrative is about how a singular moment allowed me to have a greater appreciation for books. It was the time I was reading Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None when I got spooked by one part of the book, and I dashed to my mom because I got the creeps, but my eyes were still uncontrollably locked onto the engaging narrative of the novel. I gained a greater appreciation for book following that moment because I was never so engaged in a book. The process of writing my literary narrative was challenging. Although it was fun to go back and remember memories of reading/writing, it was difficult to physically write my literary narrative, as I faced the same issue I always face when I write: I didn’t know how to start. It was only after 1 hour or so that I just started writing and hoped for the best. While I was struggling to write, I was just thinking to myself in regret that I should have actually read during those library trips because I would have developed a well-grounded foundation of reading if I actually read more since reading can help in one’s writing skills. Nonetheless, it was quite enjoyable to write my essay. My favorite sentence from my essay is “The best I could do was The Conjuring because my friends forced me to; I ended up hiding behind my guardian pillow literally for every single second of the film that wasn’t occurring in broad daylight” because I still to this struggle to watch anything in a digital form of entertainment that is even remotely horror.
My writing process of the Literacy Narrative was natural after the pre-writing exercise. Through writing this piece, I reflected my experiences with reading and writing in English. It can be summed up into the three important lessons I learned throughout the years of learning English as a non-native speaker.
This narrative exercise really made me look back and see just how much the Ranjan of the present was shaped by the reading and freedom of Ranjan as a child. As embarrassing as it is, I truly believe Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series had a profound effect on my writing. Going back and reading some of my earliest writing, I cringe at the jokes I inserted and the characters I made, but I hope one day when I am even more experienced, I can look back on this post and lovingly cringe at my progression. Reminiscing back on my roots really rejuvenated my passion for reading, as well, which waned as technology and quick internet content grew more enticing. It really is fascinating that so much could be based off such little substance, and I hope to base the foundation for having strong academic writing skills off the things I read and do in this class and Emory as a whole!
Here’s the link to my literacy narrative. https://jimmyyichengwang.wordpress.com/my-change-big-change/
It was a little weird and also exciting to write this literacy narrative because it is barely two weeks into the progress of the semester. The freewriting exercise prepared me well for writing this narrative. I definitely became more comfortable.
Just like any other writing assignments that I do, I wish to share some truths about me with other people. This is what I enjoy doing: write what I believe, and believe what I write. At the end of the writing process, I felt like I got to know a little more about myself. And I’m glad that I explored an aspect of myself that I had no chance exploring in the past. I identified some of the key experiences that helped me grow as a writer. I think having a clearer view of my past enables me to better realize who I am and set goals for the future.
I want to highlight one sentence, “Now looking back to my first year experience at my high school, I feel like I was a nicer looking Frankenstein (I think I look better than Frankenstein) trying to wiggle my way through all of the weird, new, unknown things around me.” I love this one. It is interesting.
Writing the literacy narrative was really fun as I hadn’t had that much practice on writing papers or essays in the past few months as my school was over and I did not want to study at all. I even know that slowly once this semester progresses I have to write a lot of papers and not just for my English Class. So, not only did it help me with my studies, but also helped me relive one of my favorite moments in the fast few years as I would not be where I am right now, if it hadn’t been for books. So, the link to my Literacy Narrative is https://modiin101.wordpress.com/literacy-narrative/(opens in a new tab)
The pre-writing exercise really helped me while constructing ideas together. Following the steps on the pre-writing, I found that writing could be easy. These steps saved lots of time for me while writing the essay too. I did not feel strange about doing the pre-writing exercise first. Back to high school, my English teachers always suggested the class to do the pre-write first as well as you.
Before heading to the pre-write exercise, I read the prompt first. While reading the prompt, “the key experiences that shaped the way you read and write”, I have already had an idea. “Writing was one of my biggest fears.” This sentence perfectly summarizes my history reaction to writing. With a conversation between me and a little boy, I want to start my essay in an amusing and compelling way. By the end of writing this narrative, I surprisingly found that I was not taking that much of time, realizing writing was not my biggest fear anymore.
For me, the most interesting sentence from my essay would be, “There is no right or wrong.” This sentence means a lot to me; in order to show that, it has repeated three times in the essay. It was the turning point for me to realize that there was nothing I should be afraid of. Confidence is the key, with the confident mindset and eliminating my dependence on erasers, writing has no correct answer.
I am not very fond of writing. At High School, I used to write with the motive to get good grades. If I put it in the right way, it was never from the heart, and always under a time constraint. This was until I wrote my college application essays. It was as if I was writing, in the real sense, for the first time. It was a feeling of accomplishment since it was my passion that drove me to write.
Today, while writing this essay https://muditajainn.wordpress.com/conclusions/ , it was that same feeling but with doubled ecstasy. I wrote my heart out. This phase of putting my thoughts on paper made me have a deeper understanding of myself. I cannot wait to express my original self throughout this semester. By the end of it, writing might just become one of my passions.
My literacy narrative is about how my experiences moving between countries shaped how I read and write today. Navigate to the page here. While only several sentences/points went into my narrative from the free writing exercise, it helped me remember and confirm how I felt in certain points of the past. I wouldn’t say I learned anything new about myself through this narrative, but it gave me a chance to look back and think about my incentives for reading and writing the way I do today.
I have never thought that I can reimagine my English learning career. It is very interesting for me to extrapolate all of my experiences and combine them together. The free writing helped with bring back all of my memories and some details like the looks of my middle school English teacher. When I look back at it, it was an interesting experience with struggle. There wasn’t any elements surprising or new, yet the combination made me realized how did my English skills improve. I think other people would be interested with the Quichotte book since it is published last year.
2020/02/05 this was the picture of me and my friends after I gave my senior chapel talk
It was the winter of 2015 that I decided that I would seek a change in my life. I had a video chat on a chilly night in November with Phoebe (or I think by then her name was Angela, and her name had always been Angela growing up), who was my middle school classmate, my best friend, and who took a big risk and went abroad. She applied to a American high school—Thatcher, in California—where according to her, everybody rode horses. It was almost bedtime in Shanghai, and a clear and bright Saturday morning in Cali. As we were talking, she went out to the nature. From the video camera, I could smell the freshness of the berries and cherries amongst the luxuriant foliage on the trees behind her. I asked Phoebe, “what trees are these?” “You gotta come here and we could figure it out. But there is one thing”, she said with a genuine pleasure, “I enjoy everything here. It is spiritual. It is free. It is nurturing.” And from that day I made a decision that impacted my entire life.
Yes, if you’re still guessing, I was a Chinese student. I spent over 10 years, in Shanghai. I was at a top elite middle school, where we did classes from 7am-5pm. My English—uh, not so great—I would be fair: I think we all knew we sucked but we couldn’t do anything about it. And my decision on that November night brought me closer to proper writing, or to put it as the way I thought of this in 2015: how to write like an American.
I joined TOEFL camps. And yes, that’s also true—the alleged Chinese training camps were all true. Alright, I admit it. However, I do not feel ashamed of it. Indeed, I enjoy thinking back on the history of my own growth and end up finding a TOEFL camp at the very first. I was bold. We learned how to make a statement, put some logic into our paragraphs, find some examples, etc. I believe my writing was probably rigid, dry, or any words that would make it not a good writing. I felt stressed during that time. However, TOEFL gave me a chance to explore knowledge at a small boarding school in Asheville, amongst the rugged North Carolinian mountains.
I finally came to America in the fall of 2016. I want to stress that by going to a school in the U.S., my perspectives did not only change. Indeed, The way that I read and write jumped to another level. For example, before high school, I did not know about racism; I did not know about gender equality movement; I did not know about American presidential debates, etc. I was so restricted to the environment that I had been in—there was no other race (I used to only see Chinese people in my lives, and therefore I knew nothing about racism); there was also no one questioning the gender inequality. Great news: we don’t do political debates in China. Ha! Now looking back to my first year experience at my high school, I feel like I was a nicer looking Frankenstein (I think I look better than Frankenstein) trying to wiggle my way through all of the weird, new, unknown things around me. My change was big.
Asheville School offered me a platform to succeed. Under my 1st year Ancient history teacher, I practiced critical thinking and writing analytical essays. I spent the next three in his advisory group, making a life-long relationship with who guided and inspired me. The following year, I was lucky to meet another inspiring teacher, Mr. G, who introduced me to the world of creative writing. I built myself into a more dedicated and skilled writer, and with the recommendation from Mr. G, I joined a summer writing workshop at Kenyon College. There I met famous poets and writers in person. I teamed up with students whose parents won the Pulitzer Price. Later, I took the president seat of creative writing club as a senior, publishing our writing and sharing our voices with the local community. We read our works publicly at a local bookstore. These were all the crazy things that I couldn’t had imagined doing. I’ve changed, and I could not tell you which specific experience changed me. But I cannot describe how happy I am to be the way I am after doing all of the above.
I’m grateful of Phoebe, of my past, of TOEFL, of Asheville School, of all of the things that made me, me. I’m Jimmy, and welcome to my blog.