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Listening

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I started blankly at the blinking cursor, annoyed that it had been so long since I had last written. That was the whole reason that I had conned my mom into buying me this new, flashy laptop computer in the first place: to write. To pour out my heart passionately on the tiny plastic keys until they couldn’t click anymore. (At least, that’s how I put it to her; she’s always been one for sap and sentiment about writing, being an author herself.) The open window behind me breathed in the cool midnight air as I tapped my pen ferociously on the desk. What should I write about? What would interest people? The obvious topics came to mind: politics, the media, natural disasters, religion, blah blah blah... I wanted something fresh, something nobody had ever thought of before! Clasping my hands together, I listened to the sounds of the summer night, so peaceful and at ease. It had been so long since I had actually listened to the sounds of the elm trees our small town was famous for. Think, Grace, think! I urged myself. It was already so late and I had to babysit the next morning, I had to think of something fast.




“The assignment is to write one page about something you want to change. Then you’ll get extra credit and hopefully pass Mr. Glow’s class,” I thought out loud “and NOT be grounded for the entire summer”. Swiftly I mentally sifted through all of my past writings, contemplating what topic interested my friends the most, but came up dry. So what if you’ve heard it all, if you’re going to be a writer you gotta learn to think your way out of writer’s block! I chided myself. Down the hall, I could hear my brother playing his X-BOX, apparently losing since it his books were falling off his shelf like debris during an earthquake. Leaning back in my chair, closing my eyes, I listened once more to the whisper of the wind softly beating my grandmother’s wind chimes outside my window. Then it struck me! How long had it been since I’d simply sat down and listened to the sounds of nature? How long had it been since anyone had? I grabbed a piece of the personalized stationary on my desk and jotted down a few main points that came to mind, most of them reflections of my own life. Turning to my suddenly much more friendly computer, I started tapping my fingers against the keys like they were made of white hot steel.




“With all of the new developments in technology...” Nope, I thought, too scholarly. This needs to be relatable.




“Our culture is dominated by media greatly focused on...” Yeesh, all these research papers are sucking the interesting -juice right out of me! I noticed the hall light flick on as my mom’s door opened simultaneously.




“Mom!” I called, “Can you come here real quick? This will just take a second!”




“Yeah,” she yawned as she pushed my door open, “What’s up?”




“I don’t know how to start my essay for English. I’m writing about how our culture today is so focused on high-tech stimulants without any quiet, but everything I write sounds so boring and structured. “




“Hmm,” she sighed, “Well, if I was writing it, I’d probably just pretend like I was typing out an e-mail or something, like I was sending a note to a close friend about how I felt. Then maybe it wouldn’t sound so ‘structured’ as you put it. Just relax and focus on the issue, not the assignment. Pretend like you’re telling a story to a five year old, not a fifty year old teacher with frighteningly long nose hairs.” I chuckled at her very true depiction of Mr. Glow. Whoever said “Age is Beauty” clearly left him out of the picture.




“Alright,” I concluded,” focus on the issue, not the assignment. It sounds like Yoda’s teaching me how to write. Thanks for the advice Mom, I’ll see you in the morning.”




“It is morning. Hurry up and get some sleep so you can be nice and pleasant tomorrow.”




“Will do. Night.”

Turning back again to my glowing laptop screen, I glanced back down again at my list of points.

“If you’re reading this, chances are my topic won't pertain to you, saying that I’m writing about how people barely slow down and listen anymore...” Better, I pondered gladly, let's see where this intro takes me...well, I hope it takes me to a passing grade actually...





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s.alexie said...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 6:16 pm
Really nice job. I love how you're writing ABOUT writing. And it's true! No one just sits down and listens anymore. Keep up the great work!
 
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