January 22, 2009
By Becki Steinberg, Avon, CT

My problem has always been that I have too much to say. While other babies stumbled over “dada” or “uppy”, my parents tell me, I uttered not a first word, but a first paragraph. I outtalk my cell phone minutes practically every month; thank god my best friend has the same network as I do. I often dream about being a trial attorney, delivering incisive remarks to a judge and a jury. And dinnertime in my household, my family says, is a pleasantly quiet affair when I stay at school for a late tennis match, newspaper, or literary magazine meeting.

But one place where I can never say too much—where I can never say enough, in fact—is on paper. During weekly spelling tests, my six-year-old fingers used to itch to fill in the rest of those jumbo dotted lines. One word at a time wasn’t enough; I longed to connect them and weave stories. On the first day of fourth grade, I was awarded a gift even more delicious than a locker outside the classroom or the privilege to walk to P.E. alone: a special journal from my teacher. Every week, she told me, she would write a question on a blank page, and I would fill in the rest however I wanted.

Today, writing is not only entwined in my every day life—from jotting e-mails and to-do lists to carving short stories, news articles, editorials, and even press releases—but it has also become the best way for me to express myself. When my pen tickles paper, I know exactly who I am and what I have to say.

Granted, I rarely succeed on the first try. Just as I speak, I write in profusion. I invariably exceed the word limit, spilling onto the backs of loose-leaf, drowning myself in words. So I spend days, weeks, scrutinizing every verb choice, every comma placement, until the words seem to etch themselves into the insides of my eyelids. I misplace my driver’s license on a daily basis and mash my clothes into any drawer of my closet that I can wedge open. But every stroke of my pen, every click of my keyboard is essential, meticulous. In today’s world of instant messenger, cell phones, and “facebook”, communication is increasingly fragmented and hurried. But for me, writing remains a leisurely, deliberate process, allowing me to retard the lightening pace of my life and to perfectly encapsulate my thoughts.

The author's comments:
Becki is a senior in high school. She wrote this piece as part of her college application, reflecting on why she loves to write.

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