Getting Back To My Roots

Medieval illustration of a Christian scribe wr...

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I’ve been trying to get Freshly Pressed.

There, I’ve said it. I admitted the real reason why I’ve been writing and deleting prospective posts. It’s not that they suck. It’s that I don’t think they’ll make it to be the first thing on the screen when someone logs in to WordPress. And I hate it.

I started this blog to write. Just to write. Sure, I had the hopes that a few people would read it. It’s always nice to know someone wants to read the words you’ve painstakingly put onto that page or computer screen for their eyes. And yes, I was hoping for some feedback, either on content or style, so I could become a better writer. But now, looking back at the past couple of posts and the drafts I’ve deleted, I realize exactly what I’ve been doing.

Being Freshly Pressed has taken over my blog. I want those stat numbers to skyrocket, and I want the comments of random strangers. But it’s not for my art, to make me better at anything. Not even close. It’s simply because I want the attention. It’s an ego thing. How did this happen? Why can’t anything be just about writing?

Even now I’m thinking about whether or not this would get Freshly Pressed. I’m thinking to myself, “Will someone on the WordPress staff like it enough to make it Freshly Pressed?” Why should I care? I’m a writer. That’s what I’m supposed to do. Write. All I should care about is what I’m writing about, and possibly making sure it’s grammatically correct. I don’t want to be a journalist so I can see my words written on the front page of a newspaper or in a feature column for a magazine (although that would be a cherry on top). I want to be a journalist so I can use my words to bring information to people, and so I can make a career out of a hobby. Why does everyone have to make it a contest?

Hopefully, now that I’ve realized I’m crazy and obsessed, I’ll be able to kick this addiction to stats and get back to the real meaning of my blog. As the saying goes, the pen (or keyboard) is mightier than the sword. I’m wielding a lot of power here in my finger tips, and of course, my mind. I need to reconnect and really start to use it.


A New Best-Seller

The weather in Northeast Ohio is finally warming up and calming down, which is great with June just around the corner. And with June comes summer, which means school will be out. As always, I’m looking forward to it. But there’s something special about vacation this year.

The start of summer also serves as the end of a chapter in my life. Senior year will officially be over, and I will be leaving the familiar halls of Bedford High School as a student for the last time. There will be plenty of tears as I say goodbye to beloved teachers, and plenty of hugs as friends begin to follow their own paths. I’ll certainly be sad to leave the people and places that wrote down so many memories in my yearbook.

However, there will be some relief on my part. I’ve been aching to break out of those confining walls, where everyone has been rereading the same page for the past four years. Finally, after the last exam and the long walk across the stage of Severance Hall to receive my diploma, I will be able to turn that page.

Ahead of me lies the adventure of college, and beyond that, the vast expanse of the real world. The lines I’ve been stuck between will be erased, and I’ll be exposed to the glories and the terrors of a blank sheet of paper. I have no idea what’s going to come out of the pen, no outline that will show me what’s on the next page, and nothing but desire to keep me pushing forward. I have no clue how I’m going to pay for college, or if I really know what I want to do with my life. But I’m ready to face the questions and the challenges. I think I’ve always been ready.

My life has been spent preparing for this chapter in my story, establishing the characters and the plot. Perhaps my time at Baldwin-Wallace will be the climax, the turning point, and everything after that- a career, a family, retirement- well, perhaps that could be my resolution. But what if instead of a single novel, my life turns into a series? Each segment of life, from high school through to retirement, it’s own book, with individual plot lines and diverse characters, conflicts, and climaxes? Hopefully, my story has more words than can be contained in a single cover.

And so it is with this frame of mind, the determination to create a saga, that I head towards graduation. I will walk out of Severance Hall and into an empty notebook, ready to be filled with the stories of my life.

To Read, Or Not To Read… Wait, Whaddaya Mean Read?

Okay, so apparently being authentic when reading classic literature that takes place in England is looked down upon among teens today. Note taken.

My AP English teacher decided to take one last stab at actually doing work before graduation whisks us out of her classroom and into a lazy summer vacation before college. So yesterday, she passed out the classic play Pygmalion, which was later adapted into the musical My Fair Lady, which is very similar to Cinderella. We started reading Pygmalion today, and it was a total disaster.

I was reading for Eliza Doolittle, which meant I had lines that looked like this:

“Ow, eez yə-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y’ də-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel’s flahrzn than ran awy athaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f’thm?”

(Yes, that took several long minutes to type correctly)

which translates to:

“Oh, he’s your son, is he? Well, if you’d done your duty by him as a mother should, he’d know better than to spoil a poor girl’s flowers and then run away without paying. Will you pay me for them?”

Well, needless to say I could hardly make it through a single Cockney sentence without the entire class dying with laughter. Of course, the English accent I was attempting didn’t help much… I’m an actor, what can I say? I wasn’t the only one who attempted, either. One of the candidates for Prom King went a bit overboard with his portrayal of  the Sarcastic Bystander, and the guy playing Henry Higgins took English accents to the next level. Instead of appreciating our attempts at authenticity, though, the classes chalked them up as attempts at comedy.

It wouldn’t have been terrible. But the laughter took most of the class period to die down, since it was renewed by the strange sounds the script held for my character. The lack of focus that’s plagued my class all year certainly interfered with the study of a vintage work of art, yet again.

Granted, I’m not saying that reading the classics for fun should be one of their favorite hobbies. But we have AP tests coming up, and I’m sure that some of these books will be requirements in college. So why not be prepared? I mean, there is some enjoyment to be found in reading Shakespeare, at least from a high school point of view. Look a bit closer at those confusing puns, and voila! You’ve got yourself dirty jokes and sexual innuendos. And who doesn’t like talking animals that can run a farm? Thank you, George Orwell, for your easy-to-read satirical fable. There’s a novel that everyone can find a connection to, get a laugh out of, or actually want to buy.

One last question. If you have to read a book, why not learn something from it in the process? There’s a concept… But we do it all the time. By reading Facebook updates, keeping tabs on Twitter, and surfing the web, we read learn virtually every second of the day. Reading for school may not read as well as “Going to the beach with my boo today :),” but IT’S A HECK OF A LOT MORE INTELLECTUALLY STIMULATING!! Come on, people. Think about those brains that do hardly anything productive all day. You’re losing the connections between neurons by letting them sit around on a couch in front of a  T.V. all day. Don’t you know that’s how Alzheimer’s and dementia set in when you’re old? Are books really so horrible that you’re willing to avoid them and risk not only a sore thumb from flipping through channels, but also the possibility of brain deterioration later in life?

Yes, I read Shakespeare and Orwell and Dickens for fun every now and then. And yeah, I’m probably the weirdest person you’ll ever meet in your life. But so far, it hasn’t served me wrong. Most of them are classics for a reason, sometimes even two, and in a select few cases, more. The messages, the style, and the fact that many are about the rather static human condition common to most generations make them enjoyable and applicable well beyond the original publication date. They’re so good they even make modernized movies out of them because they can’t think of anything better than the worn out paperbacks your school forces you to read (Ever heard of Ten Things I Hate About You? Sorry to break the illusion, but that’s Shakespeare; he finally got his time machine working and jumped into the twenty-first century).

So whaddaya say? Why not take that boring-looking, heavily battered book out and actually crack the spine (figuratively; many probably don’t have spines anymore…)? You’re sure to find an engaging adventure or a shocking point of view that will leave you yearning for more oldies.