Art of Words This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 17, 2009
As a child drawing was all I could think about. I would sit down for hours at a time making pictures with a pad of construction paper and 64 Crayola crayons. The two were always able to take me away from Tempe, Arizona, and Lansdale, Pennsylvania. I would be in a place all my own. A place where I didn’t have to finish my soup, brush my teeth, or speak a certain way unless if I wanted to do so. A place that introduced me to a new love that opened up doors into multiple worlds of my own. That door was a simple piece of paper that was blank on top, line on the bottom.

The storybook papers amazed me. My mom still has the first one I did where I drew a picture of myself bringing that exact sheet of paper up to her in our backyard in Pennsylvania, sloppy five year old words overstating what I thought her reaction would be to my work of art. I could finally tell my mom what the pictures meant while making her happy because I was being a big girl and writing out my thoughts. Writing. The new world that my old love had shown me. This new world seemed to come even more easily than drawing because the more I did it, the better I became.

Going to a Catholic school for four years helped my writing to become more fluid and swirly, just like my penmanship. The more I practiced, the nicer my thoughts appeared on the loose leaf paper. I would smile whenever my teacher acknowledged my improvement and the pride I felt would result in more elaborate plots and longer happy-go-lucky scenes. I was so caught up in writing that I was completely blind to the signs flashing ahead in my future when I switched to public school in Arizona: structure. I had some organization in my writing before but never like this. Five paragraphs. Only one main topic. Let your voice bleed through the words. What is a paragraph? But my story has so many parts to it! How can my voice go through my pencil to the paper? Words can bleed?! Suddenly my worlds were no longer my own. They now had patrolmen, strolling the streets, closing shops that used to sell flying pigs and Barbie houses the size of bookcases. I was devastated.
As each new school year brought more changes to my world, I started to visit it less and less until eventually it no longer contained the 64 colors that it had started off with. It was now only three colors, or lack thereof: black, grey, and white. Leave math, go to English, receive a new writing assignment, scribble out a few organized paragraphs, turn it in, get an A. All of the fun and excitement of my skill had been stolen from right under my nose. It was as if even if I tried, I could never revisit my world because it no longer felt like mine.

English teachers started to become my least favorite people in the world because they made the artistic box of writing smaller and smaller by adding onto previous restrictions that I had received. I would continue receiving compliments on what a great writer I was all throughout each year but the sweet words had lost their charm and meaning. I can pop out fancy synonyms to make my story “come to life” and make you believe every argument that I make. So what? What does it matter if when I read through it all I can think about are the Six Traits of Writing? I could no longer hear my voice in the words that I mindlessly typed out. Writing was a waste of the hour that I spent on papers everyone else spent days on to get the same grade: A for “Are you sure you don’t want to be a writer when you grow up?” I always got top marks in voice but I no longer knew whose voice it had become. The three colors had faded to one and I no longer cared.

Writer’s block came more often than anyone who knew me would believe, which caused my voice to always seem “enthusiastic and passionate” to my teachers when in reality it was because I was rushing to get down any thought that I was lucky to have. I started to realize that it was not really writer’s block that I was having; it was ‘creative stifling.’ As soon as I no longer had any question in my mind that this was what was going on, I began to throw certain boundaries that had held me back out the window. Black and white rejoined the color pallet, hinting at dark shades of blue and red underneath the surface. Some pieces that I turned in would feel rebellious due to the fact that I purposefully left out key parts to my teacher’s “correct ways to write a top-notch paper” theory but she couldn’t deny that my writings were still as good as before. The only difference was that my real voice was finally able to scream after being silenced for so long. I finally started to reappear in my writing
Compare and contrast papers allowed my sarcasm to flow freely, argumentative essays revealed how passionate I was about my religious beliefs, and free writes gave me room to roam. I would smile when we would have new writing assignments and I would be the first to the cubbies to grab my journal to get started. English teachers began to ascend back to the top of my favorite people list, a place they had not seen for a very long time. They were not the enemy anymore. Without the blinders of complete organization, I could see my teachers as people who could help me to sculpt my masterpiece until it was flawless.

Not only had my 64 colors found their way back into my writing but they had brought along a few dozen more with them. Step by step, I worked my way back towards the worlds that I had strayed away from and once I finally returned, everything looked brand new. I had removed the lock on the door to my creativity and that baby is never going to find itself back there ever again. I finally enjoy writing again, something I have not done for quite some time. I love being able to get my point across while the reader can still hear me through the words.
I love sketching for the fact that it started me on this crazy rollercoaster of writing. I am able to bring in my old skill of drawing into my writing to paint pictures with my words that allow my voice to shine through. I might not have as much passion in art anymore but all the love that I had for it has switched to writing. I lost it once and it is never going to happen again. My love of writing is back and it is here to stay.

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