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Another Flawless Essay
It is one o'clock in the morning. My eyelids are drooping down over my itchy eyes, and my fingers falter on the keys of my lap top as I stop to yawn into the palm of my left hand. Stretching my arms up over my head, I stifle another yawn and squint at the blurry lines of text that I have completed. The crickets chirp outside of my open window, and the cold air filtering in from outside makes me shudder and look to where my furry housecoat hangs on the back of my bedroom door.
It is only a few feet away, but I still feel as though the journey is too great for me to make with what little energy I have left in reserve. I choose to ignore this need for warmth, reminding myself that I love the cool freshness of the new autumn air, and that there is an essay due tomorrow that demands my complete attention.
My fingers glide easily over the keys as I write. Alice Munro's short story 'The Shining Houses' is a reflection of Canadian society because... My opening is as boring as it is ineffective, and unhappy I shift the Dell off of my lap and place my feet on the cold tile floor. My dog, Akiko, whines in her sleep from the crate beside my bed as I swallow my last gulp of cold coffee and make my way upstairs for a bathroom break. The taste of vanilla and caffeine does less to wake me up than the blinding florescent lights that come on when I enter the kitchen.
I pour the rest of the coffee into my mug, follow up with a teaspoon of Coffeemate and go back to my room where I locate the collection of short stories by Canadian authors that the school board has chosen for us to read in our final year of high school.
I look at Facebook, which lies open in a new window next to my essay. The website beckons to me, calls to me. 'Procrastinate, my love,' it sings. 'You know that I am much more interesting than that dull story!' Its blue logo temps me horribly, until I finally close it, cursing the seven days that I have given in to its beckoning. For a week already I have procrastinated.
But it is not my fault!
I look once more at the collection of short stories before reaching over to my bookshelf and plucking a number of books from the middle shelf. 'The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe', 'The Poison Eaters and Other Short Stories' by Holly Black, 'Naked City', 'Blood Lite II: Overbite...' The list goes on as I pull book after book off of the shelf, ending with the library's copy of 'Night Shift' by Stephen King. Each book is another anthology of short stories. They are not all the best pieces of literature in the world, and yet they are all more interesting than the other book that I have dropped to my floor.
How am I - or better yet – how is any student supposed to enjoy learning, and enjoy reading, when the material that is given to us inspires only boredom and irritation? Why, in a world rich in language and literature are we reading such drab, uninteresting things?
My paper mocks me as my digital clock laughs with its mouth of red. 02:04. 'Far past your bed time isn't it?' it giggles. 'Don't worry, I'll still be here to wake you up bright and early.'
Once more I turn to my essay, and typing madly I finish the eight hundred necessary words in only ten minutes. Thesis? Check. Two body paragraphs? Check. Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation? Check. Quotes from the story supporting my ideas? Check. CheckcheckCheckcheckCheck. We're all clear. It is finished.
I would like to rejoice, but instead I am forced simply to save my page and lay down. I feel discontent.
There goes so much hard work, and for what? A few marks beside my name in my teacher's book. Looking at my essay I feel uncontrollable rage. I seethe as I pull my lap top back to my lap and jam my memory stick in.
So many wonderful stories in the world, and we read this! So many things that I could write about, and yet I'm sitting here comparing society to these 'shining' houses. I have opinions! There are things going on in the world that I wish to write about! Why am I being forced to waste my times on Alice Munroe?
My passion renewed, I write a two hundred word letter to the Grand Erie District School Board before I realize that no matter what I say they will never listen.
They are closing my school, killing it with the students still inside of it. They are profiting from harming myself and my fellow students. They are taking pleasure in ruining us. I know that no matter what I have to say about their English program, not only the boring material but also the many other flaws that I have noticed, they will not care. They do not care.
Emotionally exhausted, I finally go to sleep. I will hand my essay in first thing in the morning. I will receive far better than just a passing grade. I will go to university and write more dull essays. My school will close, and the kids that get sent to the larger high schools in the neighbouring towns to receive their secondary education will continue to read the most boring stories that the school board can find. More students will lose their passion for writing, for grammar, for story telling and poetry.
I can do nothing for them but write. Write a letter. Write a blog entry. Write an essay or a newspaper article. Write, and hope that they will read and understand that English class isn't the extent of what lies in books and literature. Write, and hope that someday, someone who has the power to do something about it will.
Write, and understand that life is what it is and I can't change that.
Finally, I sleep.