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MatthewTierney Ms.LynnC.Raymond LiteracyNarrative 18September2013 MissingtheBoat,BuildingaSpaceship: TheStoryofmyReading,WritingandComposition DevelopingmyliteracywassomethingIdid,forthemostpart,allbymyself.My parentsneverreadtomeandnoonewastedtheirtimebytryingtoteachmetoreadbefore Ievenstartedgoingtoschool.MychildhoodwasmostlywellroundedIwatchedTelevision (mostlyonVHStapes),playedvideogames,playedoutside,enjoyedsports,wasfriends withalltheneighborhoodkids,didallmychoreswithoutafuss,andevenhelpedmydadin thegarage,workingoncarsorbuildingremotecontrolairplanes.However,unlikemymom andsister,Inevertouchedabook. IwenttoKindergartenataCatholicschool,whichwasapolarizingexperience.Most dayswerenormal,Isuppose.Everydaywouldconsistofsomeart,English,Math,and eitherPhysicalEducationorSpanish.Onthefirstday,IlearnedthatmySpanishteacher wasfromVenezuelaandthatoneofmyclassmatescouldalreadycountto100inSpanish. Everyonewassoimpressed,whileIwasjustthinkingaboutalltheattentionhewasgetting. Iwasjealous.MaybethatwasunusualforKindergarten,butWednesdays,ingeneral,were amuchmoreunusualoccurrence.Everyweek,eachstudentwouldmarchintheirblue uniformsouttothechapel.Wewouldstandfortheserviceandsinghymnsoutofathick, greenbook.Itwasveryeasy,eventhoughIdidntknowthesongs,becausemostofthe

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wordswerewritteninsyllablesunderthestaff.SeeingGlorytoGoodinthehiigh esthelpedmebecomemorefamiliarwiththephonemesoftheEnglishlanguageand developedmyabilitytopronouncethemclearly. Forawhile,Ireceivedacookiecuttereducation,butthecourseofmyeducation startedtochangein2ndgrade.Mysecondyearofpublicschoolwasalsoknownasthe yearofthehorse(myteacherwasntverynice).Itwasduringthisyearthattheschool systemstartedtestingthestudentsaptitude.Wehadtoreadaloudtoourteacherand, later,wetookseveralstandardizedtests.Myresultsweresupposedlygood,andforthe nextseveralyears,IwasknownasanAIGstudent.ThatlabelmeantthatIwassupposed toreceiveadifferentiatededucationalexperience,asmandatedbystatelegislation (AcademicallyorIntellectuallyGifted).TheonlynoticeablechangeatthetimewasthatI wasputinMathandEnglishclasseswithotherAIGkidswho,likeme,didnthavetotryin school,sowewereabletosocializeallday.Therewereplentyofopportunitiestotakean interestinbooksandeducationingeneral,butIwasntinterested. Inmiddleschool,IlearnedhowtoplaythetrumpetasIjoinedtheSymphonicband thatIwouldplaywithforsevenyears.Iwasthebestbrassinstrumentplayeroutofa hundredkids,butsinceIneverpracticedandneverevenbotheredtolieonmypractice records,Iwasforcedtostayaround3rdchair.AsIdevelopedrangeandversatilitywithmy instrument,IopenedaworldoffreeexpressionthatIwouldclingtofortherestofmylife. Fromthenon,whenIplayedmusic,theworldwasliabletohearwhatIwasfeelingor thinkingaboutatthetime.MyrelationshipwithmusicwasnotunlikethatofJuneBoatwright fromSueMonkKiddsnovel,TheSecretLifeofBees.Inthework,June,oneofthree

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AfricanAmericansisters,playsCelloforasmallreligiousceremony.Sheplaysasothers approachastatueandtouchitsheart,butwhenthemaincharacter,Lily,approachesthe statue,Junestopsplaying(Kidd111).Themusicwasatoolofhersthatsheusedto blatantlyalienateLily,who,asawhitegirl,wasalreadytryingveryhardtofitin.WhileIam oftenaspassiveaggressiveasJunewasinthisinstance,Istillputmymusicalexpression togooduse.Musicmademecalmerandmoreliteratebytheminute.Imigratedfrom middleschoolcarryinganotebookfilledwithinstrumentalsongsthatIhadwritten.Infact,I latercollaboratedwithaproducerovertheinternettomakeoneofmysongsareality. Inhighschool,IreallystartedtobecomemyownpersonasIwanderedthetrailof intrigueandmyenthusiasmforSciencefactandfictiongrewexponentially.Itstarted whenIwatchedtheentireStarWarstrilogyandlovedit.IwassofascinatedthatIwenton, likeMalcolmXinprison,ImeticulouslymademyselffamiliarwitheverythingwithwhichI cameincontact(2).Iplayedanyandallrelatedvideogames,watchedfanbased parodies,foundsimilarmoviesandtelevisionseriesonNetflix,andwatchedinnumerable YouTubevideos,affiliatingmyselfwithanythingthathintedatthewordScience. Ilefthighschoolwithaprofoundunderstandingofmyrelationshipwithlanguage basically,Icarryagreatappreciationforliterature,eventhoughIresistreadingmost books.Writingsomanypapersforschoolhastaughtmetrickstoamusemeduringhard workandtofurthermyappreciationforwords.Myfavoritewaytoseemsophisticatedor clever,withoutusingawordpretentiously,istoemploysubtle,admirablealliteration.The internethastaughtmewhentobecasualand,lessspecifically,thatgrammarorspeech mustbetunedtofittheintendedaudience.AllofthelessonsIhaveabsorbedfromlifeso

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farhavemademeanadeptobserveroftheuniverse,andIhaventevenescapedthe atmosphereyet. College,thegreatestdidacticexperienceofmylife,hasjustbegunandIembraceit withselfcomprehensionandselfrespect.Icontinueexploringtheworldaroundmewith onlyaninternetconnection,broadeningmyknowledgeandentertainingmyselfwithoutany booksatall.IhaveneverfeltlikeIhavemissedoutbynotreadingatonofbooks,butthere areplentyofpeoplewhodolovebooks,onlyeverreadbooks,andclaimthatIvemissed theboatbynotreadingtheentireHarryPotterseries.Imayneverhavedevelopedas deepaninterestinrecreationalreadingastheyhave,butIvebuiltaspaceshipoutof music,television,videogames,moviesandtheinternet,and,withit,Icangotwiceashigh.

WorksCited Kidd,SueMonk.TheSecretLifeofBees.NewYork,NewYork:Penguin,2003.Print. MalcolmX.LearningtoRead.smcc.net.Web.1Aug.2013 AcademicallyorIntellectuallyGifted.ncpublicschools.org.N.p.,n.d.Web.18Sept.2013.