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This I Believe

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“Thanks for the adventure! Now go have another!”—Ellie (Up)

Humans often find themselves resisting change, holding onto what they had instead of looking forward to the future. They wish for the life they had, and avoid the life that they could have. In reminiscence, I suppose I was one of these people, for there was no release of what I had before. I held on to the life I had, the life I wanted to have, instead of flowing into the life I have today.
Perhaps this is what Ellie means. I see it to mean just that; such a short quote has the potential to be more symbolic than a lengthy speech, referring to hundreds of ideas at the same time. Perhaps she simply means that the life she and Carl had in the movie Up was beautiful, but it is time to move on. She suggests that she loved living with him, but it is now time for her to move on. The world around us as humans change, and we need to change with it.
I suppose my connection to this profoundly simple quote would appear somewhat trivial, but so does everything to an observer. All of our most heart-felt desires appear petty to an onlooker, and it is necessary to understand that objectiveness is meant only for the onlooker in order to enjoy life to the fullest. Therefore I often find myself connecting symbolically anything I see with anything I am dealing with at the time, and I feel that even this short quote can connect to my life. Perhaps its beauty is in its simplicity; the overwhelming emotion came from deep inside of me, where a lengthy speech would never touch. This quote had a simple meaning that was easy for the deepest parts of my mind to comprehend, and I compared it to my life without a second thought. I simply felt that her reassurance was similar to the one I gave to myself as a writer.
In September of this year, I was a very limited writer, following a structure that seemed to exist for me even if one wasn’t ever provided. There was a simple free-verse poem that I based around a structure that I seemed to subconsciously design, making it forced. It seemed that I enjoyed a life of limiting myself. It was even a poem about writing in which I complained about the idea of structures—it would seem that I was unaware of my own problems, and I most likely still am.
But even when I realized my habit, when I understood my convoluted obsession with structures, even when the idea of structures had faded from the class entirely, I stuck to it. One could say that old habits die hard, but perhaps it was more that I enjoyed writing with structure, and I didn’t want to let go of it and venture into freedom. I was an animal trapped in a zoo for many years, and I stayed in my cage even while the door was left wide open for escape. I wrote only what I wanted everyone else to feel. I didn’t want to write what I felt.
Eventually, I began to realize the door swung open, and I had allowed myself some freedom, loosening the structure I already had. My writing became more emotionally driven, and I noticed that everything seemed to flow more naturally. A letter written to veterans was written like I knew them well, though I remained careful of revealing too much about myself. Still, I wasn’t willing to wade out into the lake, to walk out of my cage into a limitless world.
Reading was really the source of my ultimate realization. I suddenly saw how others wrote, how works that have been greatly enjoyed were well-constructed, but not well-structured. There was a build-up, a good chronology and everything, but the writers were free. It would seem that most writers keep the structure not in the writing itself, but in the meaning behind the writing. What is written between the lines. I finally realized what it meant to be a writer—my task was not to transfer an idea to the reader, but an emotion. I was to create a situation where the reader comes to a realization, where they see my writing and come up with the idea I intend to get across.
The first piece during which I experienced this total freedom was a persuasive essay called “Take a Stand”—a type of essay typically considered the most structured of all papers. The Lego model, the solid layout—the idea of a persuasive essay is corrupted by the idea of a formula, the enforcement of this formula in schools, but true writers need no formulas. At long last, I realized that the contrary was true; in any type of writing, a structure is never truly needed, for what drives the writer to write in the way that comes naturally will drive the reader to see what the writer intends for them to see. I was finally ready to take the next step. Finally ready to go have another adventure. I finally began to break out of my binds, tear out into the true world of writing.
My introduction itself became more natural as I wrote what I believed; my philosophical ideas began spewing out. The rest of the essay flowed from the introduction, my ideas fitting only roughly to the minimal structure provided. My conclusion flowed just as naturally, and I ended with an equally philosophical idea—in short, for the first time, my writing was my writing. Not something I forced onto the paper, but something that came to me and out of me in one gush. At last, I was a writer.




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