Post 100: I’m a writer!

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I know that by having a blog, it should be obvious that I’m a writer. However, a recent social situation has made me take a harder look at the way I see myself.

When offering an introduction to a new group of people, the words “I’m a writer” did not flow out of my mouth. For some reason, since it’s not part of my official job, it seemed strange to identify myself in this way. So, I need to be more confident in acknowledging that I am a writer. It’s not just a secret hobby; it is very much part of who I am.

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Finding my voice in an opinion essay

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This post shows how I was able to take a personal writing session and transform it into an opinion piece for a college class. I took real events and feelings and, by writing a first person narrative while fictionalizing some details, I found a sense of voice in my writing. It marked the first time I truly understood what that literary term meant.

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Write Moves: Dabbling in fiction

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During the second half of senior year, I learned of a one week summer program for creative writing for high school students called Write Moves. I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed to apply since I was graduating, but even as a rising college freshman I was eligible to attend. I was one of 8 students accepted into the program.

This was my first big road trip by myself. I drove independently from South Carolina to Georgia College and State University, about 2.5 hours away using written directions. This was before having a GPS system in the car.

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Parler-vous anglais?

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Yes, that is French for “Do you speak English?”

I was awesome at French when it came to learning new groups of words. Vocabulary was easy because it was rote memory. You just repeat it enough times and eventually it sticks.

Where I got stuck was forming sentences, specifically going through different verb tenses. I had the same kind of trouble when we addressed this in English class. Distinguishing from past, present and future is easy, but when you throw in various “perfect” tenses, things get tricky. I stumbled with properly identifying these tenses in English.

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Poem: One Night Stand

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No, I’m not about to admit some pretty serious information. That title is meant to be provocative.

I wrote this during my senior year of high school while sitting in the school library. I wanted to write something from the perspective of an inanimate object. This poem is an effort of viewing the poetry writing process from the point of view of a sheet of paper.

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Governor’s School: All about sounds

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Paul Allen was probably my favorite of our guest instructors for Governor’s School. He focused on the sounds and rhyming of poetry, but he wasn’t interested in sing-song poetry. He showed us the impact of replicating sounds, even near-rhymes.

It was under his guidance that I produced my absolute favorite poem of the program. First, we were asked to think about an event we had experienced. We described that event in one to two sentences. From there, we chose about five to six key words. These words topped separate columns across our paper and underneath we wrote down as many words as possible that rhymed with them. We incorporated literal rhymes (church, birch) as well as capturing similar sounds (for instance the long A sound in sway, rage, fade). We used these words to craft our poems.

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Governor’s School: The summer program

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In the summer of 2000, between tenth and eleventh grade, I had the opportunity to attend South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. I went for the creative writing program. It was held on a campus near downtown Greenville, S.C., about 2.5 hours away from where my parents lived. Sure I’d gone to overnight Girl Scout camps, but this was the first time to be away from my parents for an extended period of time. And it marked the first time I had to live with a roommate. This was a big deal.

I was excited about going but nervous about what the experience might be like. My style of writing was mostly to wait for inspiration to strike, to have an idea or a vision of where things were going and to complete the piece at that time. There really wasn’t a concept of brainstorming and editing, no stressing over word choices and trying to make things sound better. My approach was to really wait for inspiration and pounce in the moment. It was one of the rare times when I could be spontaneous. So I was nervous about how my writing approach would be tested and shaken up, having to meet certain expectations and requirements within a set time frame.

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Poem: Insanity

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I wrote this at the end of ninth grade. Apparently I was going through a phase of trying to determine how poetry works for me. Does it have to rhyme? Should stanzas be the same number of lines and similar syllable count? Should it kind of have a sing-song quality to it? This poem accomplishes all of that!

It’s a goofy little thing about writer’s block.

Or, another way of looking at this, is that experience of you know what you want to say or write, the idea is on the tip of your tongue and yet the exact words are just out of reach.

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