The Silhouette - January 16, 2014

Page 10

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014


When writing turns sour


Weighed down by the stress of school and the torrent of adult responsibilites, a person can’t help but have a hard time writing for leisure Sarah O’Connor Staff Reporter Recently I’ve found myself in a rut. Maybe it’s just me, getting too relaxed during the Christmas break and now unable to find the thinking cap that university life requires. Maybe it’s because I recently turned 20 and am having a minor crisis of leaving my teenage years, one step closer to graduation, one step closer to pure adulthood. Whatever it is, perhaps even a combination of several, I’ve worried about my writing recently and have had trouble writing in general. I’ve always loved writing. I’ve loved the relief and numbness I get after writing something emotional or personal and the excitement of an idea as it plots its way through my brain. But lately I’ve been letting deadlines creep up and the ideas that swirl around in my brain stay swirling, unable to land on a piece of notebook paper or a word document. Sure, I’ve typed a few meager lines out. But then I stop, read, and let the document lay forgotten in virtual dust. That’s one of the main reasons I love writing for the Silhouette, it gives me a deadline, a due date, a goal for when I have to have something written by. There’s no time to worry and criticize it, I simply type, edit, send and wait for Thursday when it will be published. There is no alternative; I agreed to have an article in and it must be in or else I screw people over. But lately even this has been a struggle for me. I started writing for the Silhouette in my first year in hopes I’d gain experience and improve my writing in different sections and forms. I wanted to grow and expand in my writing, but I’m wondering if maybe, like a flower, I’m already grown. I might al-


ready fit the pot perfectly; there is no need for transplant when I’m perfect where I am. Whenever I submit an article I eagerly await for Thursday. As a weekly tradition for myself I always read the Silhouette when it hits newspapers stands where I can read my fellow writers’ pieces and see what the editors’ changes in mine. More often than not I see the beauty they add that I failed to create. And that isn’t a bad thing that’s an editor’s job, what they’re

Why you should read CONTINUED FROM A7 Our identities were completely fluid – I influenced her as much as she influenced me. Just as I coloured the shades of her auburn hair and molded her friendship with Diana, she shaped my shapeless daydreams. I too was an open book, and the intimacy of our friendship was not an escape like my daydreams were, but instead a way to contend with my reality. I lost the book for several months that summer. I eventually found it somewhere in my house, but until then I was thoroughly panicked. My parents even bought me a replacement copy, and it was a shiny new edition with a fancy cover. But I angrily rejected it. I wanted Mrs. Parker’s version – my version. So for some reason, I decided that the logical course of action was to rewrite the story I knew. I opened an empty notebook and tried to write everything I could remember. First I just wrote all the events I could remember, then I rearranged those moments, and then I started adding details and quotes. I wrote only a few sentences at the top of each page, leaving the rest of it blank with the intention of filling in more specifics when they came to me. Of course, my memory reached its threshold and after that I could not remember much more. So instead, I wrote about my own life in the empty spaces on each page. I connected the fictional stories to my lived experiences, and it thus came to be a process of thoughtful, careful introspection. My experiences helped me to make better sense of Anne’s story, and Anne’s story helped me to make better sense of my life. The two were literally inextricably inside that notebook, and they informed one another in deep and powerful ways. I took complete ownership over Anne

of Green Gables. It was different from the story anyone else had ever read. The world of the text does not exist until it is taken up, imagined, configured, and undergone by each individual reader. This experience awakens and organizes certain memories, thoughts, and desires. We nourish ourselves with the stories we hear and read, we metabolize them and incorporate them into our tissues, derive energy from them, and become more of who we are by virtue of their fuel. Reading is a human act; we do what we do as readers not only for our own good but also because our lives depend on it. Anne of Green Gables allowed me to see myself and my reality more authentically and I felt a sense of responsibility to confront my detachment from life. Anne’s story was my story, and likely the story of so many other children. Novels use the particular, like Anne’s struggle through her circumstances, to reveal valuable knowledge about the universal. My intimate relationship with Anne meant that I could absorb that knowledge so deeply that it moved to action. This is the power of reading; we come in such close contact with stories that they seep into our skin to form our identities and structure the way we think and act. @ baharoh

“I connected the fictional stories to my lived experiences, and thus it came to a process of thoughtful, careful introspection.”

supposed to do. Still every time I see the edits I see my failure. I see where I lack as a writer. In these blah moments, I reflect on my goals as a writer for after I graduate. I’ve already succeeded and gone ahead by becoming a staff reporter for the Silhouette. But I can’t help wondering if there’s a point going after my other goals anymore. Perhaps I’ve found my calling, my purpose. Perhaps my voice is meant for the students of Mc-

Master and that’s it. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing for the Silhouette and I’ve learned a lot from it, but I want more. Despite my blah mood I’m not going to stop writing for the Silhouette. Maybe some of you are happy by this, maybe some of you aren’t. Whatever your wishes, I’m here to stay and will continue pushing my roots, continue trying to grow or at least see if there’s anything worth growing. I’ll keep with my weekly tradition and

maybe I’ll jot down those ever swirling thoughts in my brain. Maybe. @ notsarahconnor