Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On Essays (Because we just love them...)

Hint: Catch the sarcasm?

(Hey, here's a song to listen to. Lovely, no?)

For my Pre-AP English 10 class (I'm still not used to calling it Honors English), we're beginning essays.

Now, I have had extensive training in this area. Anyone who has ever heard of or been taught by Mrs. Cindy Arnn will understand immediately when I say this. For the better parts of my sixth, seventh, and eighth grade years, I did nothing but write essays and study the intricate clockwork of grammar.

Lately, I'm starting to wonder if Mrs. Gillmore hasn't been channeling Mrs. Arnn. It seems I have skipped from one essay-crazy teacher to another, with the exceptionally refreshing respite of Ms. Peugeot in ninth. Don't get me wrong, all three were/are good teachers.

It's just those dang essays. I can't escape them. Resistance is futile.

I would so much rather just write a short story. That way I could expand on my own personal style, rather than conforming to a very specific outline. I've conformed enough, I think. It's individualism and voice that make a writer's work, not strict guidelines. When you write about something you care about, you want to be able to express yourself in any pattern or manner, any form or unconformity.

Of course, there is a necessity to this sort of writing. Essays in the typical outline and rigidity lay out the paper so that a person can clearly see what they've already said and what they intend to say. It's easy to start rambling in a more free-style paper or story(like I tend to do in blogs). It's harder to get away with slipping in random things into the main idea: dangling ideas, unnecessary comments, and other such offenses. Outline-conformed essays and paragraphs teach a writer to really pay attention to what they're saying. Well, they're supposed to, anyway.

But in the end, even though essays do have some up points, I still can't stand them. And that's really simply because they aren't much fun. It's always been a bit of a dream of mine that an English teacher would just tell us to write a chapter a week for her and compile a novella, or a short-story a week and build up a collection. I always have written better when I'm on a deadline set by someone else and they're expecting something worth reading at said deadline.... That doesn't necessarily include assignments.

Out of the three most major English teachers I've had, I have to say that Ms. Peugeot was my favorite. More than anything else, she put the emphasis on creative writing. She covered grammar and all that, but she let me write. Not in a 'forced me to put words on paper about something that didn't matter to me' way, but in a very nice 'encouraged me to paint a picture in words' kind of way. I rather miss that. (And no, I didn't get put in Honors English last year, but I was more than happy with Ms. Peugeot.)

And see, look, I've been rambling. But as how 90% of what I blog is written (or typed, if you want to be particular) for the sheer purpose of a good ramble, I deem that perfectly acceptable. =D

Here's another one just for giggles. Ignore his weird hat, and I dare you to try not to dance!

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