Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Essays: More Formal Scribblings of a Future Essayist

I'm in my first "upper division" English class here at school. I'm really excited. It's called "The Art of the Essay." It's taught by a really brilliant woman. I'm in love. Allow me to explain.

I've been fascinated by essays and essay writing since last fall, when I took a personal essay class and wrote some really, really good stuff. I wrote things I'm really proud of as a student and as a budding writer in her own right. Now I'm taking a class that focuses solely on the essay as a form, and its rich history and its uses today and what all of that means. I'm unbelievably stoked. SO, I've added a new page! The page, as you can see, is called ESSAYS: More Formal Scribblings of a Future Essayist. I may shorten it. I have yet to decide. Anyway, each week she assigns an in-class writing assignment, so I will be posting them as regular blog posts, but if you miss one or want to go back (because I have so many avid readers and fans, right?) I'll also post them on the PAGE for essays. Aren't I smart? Yeah, yeah, shut up, Willow, I know.

So here's the first one. It was in response to an essay by Carlos Fuentes entitled "How I Started to Write," and I highly suggest reading it. At least part of it. He's not my favorite person since I'm not a fan of his personality, but his writing intrigues me. I hope you feel the same. Someday soon. We'll see. Cheers...

from: Art of the Essay

response to "How I Started to Write," by Carlos Fuentes 9/01/2010

Carlos Fuentes has a unique, yet definitive sense of self. When he finally figures himself out - a Mexican nationalist with a certain sense of justice - he then tries to make sense of what that means to him as he tries to identify himself as a writer. It happens when he is 14, in Chile, and realizes that his 400 page opus searches for a language that he finds his own. He realizes his urgent need to be a Spanish writer (linguistically, not ethnically. More on that later.).
His sense of self is strongly political, ethnocentric, and geographical. But he also beautifully identifies himself as a writer. He writes in Spanish. He writes as a Latino. He writes critically, with a situational-awareness I admire. He writes himself in a way that makes me want to keep reading.

My own sense of self is both definite and ambiguous, and certainly contradictory. I am at once childish and old for my years. Equally amused by make-believe and tea parties as I am by spending an evening in with a good book and my knitting. I work in the ever-advancing field of advertising - using new forms of technology every day - but do my own writing by hand or on my 1947 typewriter. My sense of self is heavily dependent on my sense of what I do. I am a passionate student. I am a writer. I am a reader. I am a reader who writes.
The writing I want to do is varied. I want to write children's books, chapter books, elementary fantasy, young adult fiction, memoir, poetry, music lyrics, essays, non-fiction researched works that combine personal anecdote with facts and my own observations. Specific to [The Art of the Essay, ENGL 463], I want to develop my voice as an author. Distinct from tone, I feel, which is dependent on content, but my way of phrasing, my kind of topics, my kind of words that speak and echo and mean more than they appear.

Love all, trust few, do wrong to no one. ~ William Shakespeare



  1. I really like the fact that your own voice shined through in this piece. It made it all the more interesting to read. I think you're going to become a very skilled essayist :]

  2. How do you know how to say exactly what I love to hear? Your first line said it all, like you read right to the heart of the piece. Thanks for reading. :)


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