Monday, April 23, 2007

reflective essay

Coming up with a topic for writing my memoir was not hard. I think I had so many options to write about, I just had to pick the one I wanted to share. I started out deciding what I was going to write about by jotting down a few topics that I thought would make a good memoir. Out of about five topics that I had written down, I finally decided to write about my trip to Costa Rica. I felt like I had a lot to say about my vacation, but I didn’t just want to write a general paper about my entire vacation. After reading the story by Beard, I thought that I wanted to write about an event that happened in my life that would be interesting to the reader, and have an unexpected ending. This is when I decided to write about the story about surfing and the shark.
When I first started writing my paper I wanted to write a section leading up to how I got to Costa Rica. I wrote about how it was my boyfriend Chris that had asked me to go, and that we went with his brother and sister in law. I did this so I could give a little introduction, and not just start out in Costa Rica. I wanted to write about how
Chris had been getting me to try so many new things since I met him, and surfing was one of them. All this was what all lead up to the event that I wrote about.
Writing about the shark was the hardest part. I clearly remember what happened because it was a crazy thing for me to go through. However, it was difficult to organize all of the feelings and events that I felt in order to put them into words. In order to organize what happened I thought step my step the events that occurred, starting with paddling out into the water, and talking about how this was my very first experience surfing. I wanted to convey how scared I was, and why. One of my main ideas in the beginning was how scary the ocean was to me.
Finally, I got into the real story that I was telling. I wrote about how Chris was helping me surf, and how it was hard to catch waves. Then I got to the part where Chris asks me if he can get on the board with me, and the part when I start to think that he saw a shark. This is where I had to try to write all the terrified feelings that I felt, and put them into words so that readers could understand. The best that I could I wrote exactly what I was thinking.

However, it was the meeting with Dr. Chandler that actually lead me to my real story. I went into her office to revise a different essay. Since we weren’t going to be revising this essay, we were going to just talk briefly about this essay. Instead, we would up talking about this one the entire time, and not the one that we were origionally going to talk about. Dr. Chandler found that I was essentially writing about fears that are not actually there. The whole time in the conference we talked about how people for some reason are so afraid of something that is just not there, and how the fact that something is unseen can make it even more frightening. The whole time we would come up with things that people are afraid of even though they aren’t there, and different situations that these things could happen in.
Now, instead of writing an essay about my vacation my main point being about something that happened to me in Costa Rica, the main point of my essay was about unseen fears. I thought that this topic was a lot more interesting because it is something that people can relate to and even have experienced, even if they don’t know it.
I revised my essay by writing about certain situations that people are afraid of, even thought there is nothing there, such as in movies or books. There is also always the fact of how when something is being anticipated, people tend to think of the worst that can happen. Maybe this is because they want to be relieved when everything is ok, or maybe they just don’t want to be so upset when something actually does happen. I think that this was a good topic to write about because it is interesting and relevant to so many people.

I wanted my main point of the essay to be that when I write I need to look past the superficial aspect of the story and go and find a deeper meaning to my writing. For example my first draft of my memoir was about my costa rica trip and surfing. My final essay was about being afraid in general, with the shark experiance as an example of this. Is the point I am tyring to make obvious?


S. Chandler said...

In some ways we talked about this in your last conference for the paper (whether or not the focus of your essay was obvious) and I really liked the way you finally revised that essay. I really really liked it.

And what was so interesting to me - what I thought about as I walked out to my car after your conference - was how odd it was that the fear issue seemed to come through so clearly even in your first draft - when for you it wasn't what you were focusing on. Perhaps you have issues similar to Pope - about "listening" to your work - letting it tell you what you have to say.

Your revisions just got better and better. Hopefully the last revision of your reflective essay will discuss your last revision of your memoir (hahahhah).

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