Friday, October 4, 2013

"The Sounds of Silence" by Lola Lane

When I was a freshman, I was terrified of writing. But not just writing; I was afraid of writing wrong. When I was a sophomore in the writing center, it was a little too easy to hold back on what I really wanted to say. I wasn’t censoring myself, but I thought that what I had to say was not important, or, more importantly, not worth any one’s time. As I enter my third year in the writing center, I can tell that I am different. I realized that you don’t have to be the most interesting man in the world to say something. Every voice recorded in a written piece is a step towards a new idea or discovery. Anything shared with another can cause a collaboration, or plant the seed that blossoms into something no one even thought could happen. As I enter my senior year, it is plain to see that writing is a medium that is powerful in an overlooked way. When Carlos Fuentes stated, “Writing is a struggle against silence,” I like to think that he came to the nirvana of writing that I just have slowly began to grasp.
My first year as a writing center tutor scared me to an extreme degree. I was awkward, well more awkward than now, a little over-eager, but mostly scared. I was scared to say the wrong thing, write something dumb, or truly expose myself to my classmates. I worked my way through every writing assignment like a zombie walking mindlessly to his prey. I added just the right amount of cutesy, age-appropriate ideas, and never found myself straying from the image that I pre-fabricated for the eyes of the public. The central issue was that I didn’t believe in what I was saying, and I couldn’t fight the silence that was stacking up in my soul, acting as a blockade against what I wanted to put on the paper. No one was going to call me of this reverie. The only person who could save me was my self, and I was too tightly cocooned in silence to emerge with my identity.
It wasn’t until my junior year, and my second year in the writing center, that I began to see that everyone has something to say, and maybe what I had to say was worth listening to. I began to find my niche in the writing center, something that I had been too scared and inexperienced to do before. I became present which made the tutoring easier, and I stopped rushing through any possible action, or opportunity for dissatisfaction for the tutee. The fight I put up against the silence was a mere soldier, but, nonetheless, it was a start. Writing didn’t get easier. In fact, the difficulty of it resulted in many pages of estranged doodles and unfinished stories. When I thought I was trying to please someone else, I would stop writing. I wanted my work to be raw. I wanted it to be a mirror of me; a voice that was inaudible to any ear but visible to every eye. Slowly, I learned when to take my time, and when to push myself to break the fixture of silence that flowed openly in my mind.
Maybe it’s because I am a senior and I am becoming more sappy and sentimental as the countdown to graduation nears, but writing has come to mean so much more to me than I ever could have imagined when I walked into my freshman English class. In a way, writing is life. And not just because it is a strong media for news, or that it gives English teachers satisfaction to be able to teach what they love. Writing enables me to have a voice. I may not be physically shouting from the rooftops, or changing the world by taking actions right this moment, but, in a way, I think writing lets me be me, and that’s life-changing. The silence I once embraced is the very parameters that I struggle to break free from now. Although I look back at my sophomore self, a scared weakling in the writing center, I understand I have only just started on this confusing maze of finding my style, voice, and personality. For all I know, my future self is re-reading this essay right now, and is laughing about how naïve I was, and how I really had no idea how to write. What my future self thinks does not concern me at present. The only spark of inspiration right now is the fact that I have begun to put up a fight against the shroud of silence that in the past has put a damper on my ideas. I may not have yet been successful in translating the noise that reverberates in my mind on to paper, but I’m trying to be true to myself, which is really all I can hope for. And that’s just fine with me.

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