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1 S ENC1102 21 May 2012

In more recent generations, it seems like many take that we have the privilege to learn how to read and write for granted, and that some even come to disdain the practices. From about 5 years old and on through university, many people just see it as a routine; however, there are some that always have found the beauty in literature and the practice of writing, and then there are some that have a turning point in life where they catch the literacy contagion that sparks a new love. Surely that is how I caught it. Reading and writing was laborious and dull for the longest time, since everything in school was to get you ready for the FCAT and the FCAT writes. Mostly everything was dismal for me. I didn’t enjoy reading about little bits of uninteresting passages about uninteresting subjects, and then answering questions; or reading books we had to, so that we could increase our skills and score enough to earn the school a little bit more money. Mostly it was ridiculously easy for me, and I was also a bit of a dreamer, who enjoyed books that weren’t on the list and passages that pertained to fantastical adventures. I came to dislike reading and writing for a while. I found the writing prompts out there and uninspiring and the books lengthy, so I acquired a bad taste in my mouth. Everything was FCAT. That was life for a while. I didn’t read and I didn’t write, and I felt like it was stupid to even in my off time, where I wanted to do other things. It was involuntary word vomiting every week.

2 And then I came to 8th grade. I think that’s one of the major FCAT writes testing grades, but it’s been a while. Instead of every week, these mind-numbing and difficult-to-write-about essays were everyday; however, I did have a little more freedom in picking what book I would read. I only had to keep in “lexile” range, since we were tested for it every semester. I started picking up fantasy literature and I found I actually enjoyed it, so I actually started to read. In my off time, I slowly read Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien. I still didn’t like other genres, so that always got me in a bind when choosing books (we drew a type out of a hat each time we picked a new book), until I had to read a biography or fail. The one I had read was actually interesting and entertaining. I wasn’t quick to pass by other kinds of books anymore, so I started reading fiction that was a little less fantasy, and a little more realistic or even historical, like books by Chuck Palahniuk or those little cultural historical fiction diaries. I felt that maybe these books were teaching me different lessons that could help me in my life. Each book seemed to have something it was eager to teach, whether it was small or quite important. I started to pay attention to how these authors wrote and elaborated on their stories. I think that they were my first positive literary sponsors. It wouldn’t be until later, about the summer before freshman year in high school, that I took what I had read and used it to my advantage. During the slow times at work when I had finished cleaning and stocking and all of the fun that entails a small shop job, I picked up a pencil and paper. I started scribbling out the beginnings of fantasy stories, most not being what I wanted and getting crumpled up into the trash. I came to like a certain plot I was going for, but I

3 still had a hard time thinking out a perfect way for me to put it all down on paper. It was pretty good therapy for me, too, since I was having some problems at home and with friends. I wanted an escape where I could be alone for just a little bit, and express myself. Perhaps I wouldn’t ever share what I wrote, or maybe I would. All my ideas seemed to come out so smoothly when I hit my groove. It was nice break from writing FCAT focused essays, since I was to take my final year of the Writes version. It was a short passage, and more of a prelude to a book I wanted to write how a Halfling girl lost her family and sought revenge. It was just suppose to set the background for her character and give hints to why her personality was how it would end up being in my head. I spent the rest of the summer and part of the first few months of my freshman year doing minor revisions and rewriting it so that I felt it was as perfect a piece as I could make at the time. I had seemed to go back to the books I had read to reread parts that had always caught my eye, since I decided I would show the story to my Pre AP English teacher. About halfway through the year, I showed it to her asked her to review and mark it up. She returned it and suggested that I should check out her few marks, and then type it out and hand it into the Creative Writing teacher for the Inkwell, the school’s literary and art publication that ran once a year. I did this and I got wonderful review by the teacher and from other students. It was really heart-warming and I actually felt good about writing. When I went to check on things, she would introduce me to her class sometimes, as they helped with organizing the magazine. A lot of people said my writing was great. It was kind of embarrassing, as I’m someone who doesn’t like a lot of attention. In the end I got a

4 few honors for being in the publication, and I got a bit of praise. The people who supported my work made me want to become a better and write more. I continued with writing and wrote other bits and short stories, but I never entered any into the Inkwell again. I felt like I had to, but I just couldn’t get anything I found to be “perfect.” I hit a freeze in flow for the story I had begun. I couldn’t finish it. I probably haven’t touched the story line in forever, not even in my head. I would probably have to reread it myself to ever start working on it again, so to this day it’s still not finished. It feels weird to realize, but I think I let down those people, because I never finished the story like I had said I would, or like I promised myself. I’ve only come to write some small random passages only to be forgotten, but through fantasy fiction, I kindled a love for reading and writing. It was what really got me in love with those two (almost) rudimentary things and open a whole new portal to a world that I could create and live in others’ creations for a bit. Reading and writing have helped me through certain times that were quite chaotic and has acted as a perfect outlet to let escape into my own little world for a short while. I probably wouldn’t have stayed entranced with literacy and all it stands for if it wasn’t for how people write, and what they write about; and I probably wouldn’t be into writing and I wouldn’t write like I do if it wasn’t for the authors I drew from, and the people who read my writings and supported me. As said in Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters, “I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve known” (Palahniuk).

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Works Cited Palahniuk, Chuck. Invisible Monsters. New York : W.W. Norton. 1999. 23 May 2012. Book.