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18 Sept, 2013 Thomas A.

Moss English 1101

A Narrative into My World


Jogging my memory from early childhood is a difficult task. The same is true of when I recall my earliest experiences in reading. A vague remembrance of being read to from an assortment of Golden Books comes to mind. The double arched white bookcase beside my bed, which my Dad had built himself right around the time I was born, stood upright and ready, brightly colored books gleaming, a shelf to which any child would draw interest. My brother and I shared a room, he 6 years older than I. His collection of early childhood books, most of which he had been read to by my Mom and Dad, were now mine. I remember just mimicking my brother when he began to read something by picking up a book of my own or some short story including pictures and read (or try to read) what I could. The greatest way that I expanded my ability to comprehend was actually through picture books. I suppose the Golden Books platform assisted in that. My father and my brother both pushed me to use the surrounding words to try to form my own thoughts about what the word meant. Now I know that I was using the context of the sentence to make sense of what I saw. It wasnt rote memorization for hours on end that brought me to know what I do. The proliferation of my vocabulary was through literature. Taking this new knowledge I have applied it to my everyday life because words and usage are useless if they just sit in our memory banks. I have consistently sought out new ideas. The world and her current events also bring me a wealth of daily knowledge. In general, I believe that this enhanced my ability to learn from a very young age. Rather than having to wait patiently to get a grown up to give me instruction, I was taught to seek out

intellectual thought by myself. My future reading over the next few years was through selfdiscovery. It was this ability to read and grow that fascinated me so much. I can recall specific books that I read and re-read that intently held my interest. My desire to read to this world of discovery at my hands. Its what made me love to read in the first place. There I was again. Sitting in the blue curved metallic chair. With the beginnings of paint chipping, the overuse from the many students before me. For an 8 year old, it seemed to just suck you in into an awkward posture. Before me sat what now seems archaic-- an IBM computer with a green and black screen. At least once a week, I found myself here, segregated from the rest of the class at this standalone faux wood table. Legs fidgeting and swaying underneath it, in deep thought and excitement. This was not something I was forced to do, encouraged perhaps, but it was my own impetus. I wanted to be here. It was a reward in itself, this self-paced competition against a computer giving out multiple choice questions. All for a simple task such as reading a book and remembering some things about it, I was seeking the reward. I dont quite know what my intent wasIt might have been the goal of having my own Pizza Hut personal pan pizza for victory in getting the magical number of Accelerated Reader points, or it might have been the fact that my younger sister had recently been born, and I found myself reaching out for a sense of achievement as a middle child. The underlying purpose is for another discussion. I just knew, even at that young and impressionable age, that weekly trip to the library was not just for sheer joy, it was also for a task and purpose. Walking down the hallway, single file against the wall as many schoolchildren do, off to the library. I was excited to choose two books, and take them to the comfort my childhood home. Finding a perfect balance of a book I could read, I found interest in and was at least to my juvenile level of proficiency.

As avid of a reader as I may have been, these did not pass on to my writing as well as one might assume. Always, I have found great struggle in trying to compose any writing assignment. Writing for the pure fun of it? Lets not get obscene here. From an early age, I have begun nearly every writing assignment with reluctance and disgust. Its not that I dont have my own ideas. Far from it. Its an engrained inherent fear now, the fear that my writings will not be well received and that there will be some sort of associated punishment following it. I recall my 5th grade teacher, a name I cannot recall, perhaps repressed from my memory. The red ink graffiti over what I had written about, forcing me to sit at my desk and copy every sentence in which there were grammatical errors. Eventually, having to sit in the desk students were punished in to finish the task. My papers we so wrought with mistakes it just took that long. This was a regular thing for me. It not only just made me mad, it inhibited me! I dont recall really learning anything from all of this, I just know it really put a bad taste in my mouth about writing in general. This old dinosaur made me despise writing, and honestly, taught me not to write about anything personal again. Roy Peter Clark wrote about this many years ago and has been an advocate against writing as a punishment. Allowing for written expression to grown and not be hindered by poor corrective techniques. The impulse was there for me, however, writing was now attributed to bad experience. This wasnt something self-aware. It was honestly the deep thought of composing this essay that has brought that understanding to the surface. So many times, my writing for me it comes in fits. These short dramatic periods of great thought and flow where paragraphs can be written down without the least bit of deep thought. The complexity of putting pen to paper is gone. I had a complete block. Not even a trickle. Nothing, nowhere can this go it seems. Then another blast of energy. I had one of those blocks just briefly ago. No idea where this was going, or how it was going to tie in together and

ultimately meet expectations. In blatant honesty I was getting pointers from someone else; they even wrote a paragraph for me to try to get something flowing. None of which made it here. It infuriated me. I am better than this, I dont need help. My stubbornness came to light. I read over this other paper which could have been the genesis of mine and became enlightened. It had little to do with the material. It was, in my opinion all quite better that what I could compose. I began writing. Typing to be more specific. Words poured from my fingers with great ferocity. It had absolutely nothing to do with the current work, but before I had a moment to pull myself away I was already a full page singlespaced down. It wasnt some mystical ring of power, a debate of my political leanings or some great work of poetry. It was me, back in Iraq, heated emotions as strong as the heat of Anbar Province. The purpose, the desire to convey my thoughts, the urge to make it as accurate as possible were all clear as the thunder of firepower roaring and echoing in my ears of the streets of downtown Ar Ramadi. Much as these ideas flowed through me, they now flow through you, the reader These thoughts are your own but formed from a concept that was strictly in my head. It makes sense that writing can be a form of telepathy. That these words etched on paper can fully bring you into my realm with my thoughts being given to you. Without me ever uttering a word. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page -Stephen King Thats been a great issue for me over the years, the purpose, the desire. How am I supposed to convey these thoughts and telepathically give them to you when my heart isnt in

it? But, while those writings might not be excellent prose, they can still be something I can be proud to have others to read. But, that doesnt necessarily mean that the top student, leading in both grades and test scores will achieve. Scores are measurable features, not the measureable facts. How much relevance do our scores play in the world? Yes, a test may assist you in getting into an institution of higher learning, but those intangible things that are real-world, realistic, applicable and distinguishable? These are the important things. Having stellar a GPA and test scores play of no importance if these measured concepts cant be displayed in a useful manner. Stream-lined education of reading and writing doesnt do the trick. Self-education with comprehension is the clench to expanding our vocabularies and our minds. We all have a past in learning, it is the manner in which we take that knowledge and move forward that is significant.