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What are you writing for?

The water treatment plant is a twenty-four hour facility.  As such, the employees are required to work shift work to ensure that the operations are always working smoothly.  The typical sift schedule for workers are twelve hour shifts: two days, followed by two nights, followed by five days off.  Once a month, workers are required to work an extra day on their rotation.  This type of administrative method of control ensures that workers do not become overly fatigued and are not making a difficult transition from night-shift to day-shift.

This here is an excerpt from my horrible, crappy, waste-of-time, make-work assignment on occupational hazards that I just handed in.  I hate it.  Everything about it.  It was a waste of my time, I learned nothing, and it killed me to write it!  When I read this assignment, I cringe.  The writing is so basic, unimaginative, and overly laced with colloquial statements.  It took me 2 days to piece together a 1500 word paper on this topic because I couldn’t even finish a sentence without losing my train of thought or cringing at the horrific crap that was spewing forth into my keyboard.

When I want to, I can create beautiful, satisfying essays, letters, and blog posts in a matter of minutes or hours.  Many of the comments I received on my Freshly Pressed post were about my exceptional use of prose and language to express my emotions; they are a testament to my strong writing skill.  I know I am a good writer… when I want to be.  Being a good writer is more than just having skill, however.  If that’s all it was, I could have created the most moving and eloquent paper on the “Woes and Wishes of Workers at The Water Treatment Plant” in mere hours, and I would have enjoyed it.  I believe, rather, that being a good writer has almost everything to do with having a connection to your writing; being invested in it, mentally, emotionally, or in any way that provides a therapeutic release.

Before I started medical school, I got an English degree (and a few others… but that’s another post).  In that time, I wrote more than my fair share of essays.  The nice thing about those essays, though, was that the topics were broad enough to allow for your own creativity and thought: You could pretty much write about anything, as long as it was vaguely reminiscent of the assigned topic and it involved the assigned reading(s).  One essay I wrote sticks out well in my mind and I often go back to re-read it every once in a while.  The professor who assigned the essay  even submitted it to the English Department for consideration of the Top Prize in Canadian Literature Award (I came in second).  The essay was about Richard Parker.  If you don’t know who Richard Parker is, I highly suggest you find out about him… and most importantly, read the book about him!

In short, Richard Parker is a Bengal Tiger.  And, he’s one of the main characters (antagonist? protagonist? you decide) in the book  The Life of Pi  by Yann Martel.  This book is about story telling.  Specifically, it is about how we use stories to convey our thoughts, ideas, and emotions in a way to ensure that other people will (hopefully) gain an appropriate appreciation for them.  The boy in the story, Pi, tells two stories and asks the reader to decide which one they like better; which one they want to believe.  You might be surprised at your reaction when you hear the stories and make your own decision.  It is a good read.  I promise. (and just in case you need a little more enticement):

I bring up my essay about Richard Parker in this post because, although it was a class assignment, I consider it one of my bese pieces of serious writing.  In my opinion, and what I argue in my paper, is that Richard Parker represents something inside of Pi that he is afraid of.  Something that he doesn’t want to like, and that he can’t accept as himself.  I believe we all have something like that inside of us.  I know I do.  That’s why I started this blog.  And, as I mentioned in a previous post, it seems as though the part of me that I hide and I’m afraid to share with people is actually one of the most interesting aspects about me.  It makes me the person I am and it is the reason I am at this point in my life today.  Writing as essay about Richard Parker, therefore, was more than a class assignment; It became a way for me to write about humanity.  Specifically, a characteristic of humanity that isn’t ever talked about openly and that I recognized within myself.

12 thoughts on “What are you writing for?

  1. First. Love the header! 🙂 I have the Life of Pi on my shelf. I tried to read it year ago but I couldn’t get through it. Will buy some cookies and give it another shot this weekend!

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    1. Also, thanks about the header! I always enjoy when I see a picture of the people I’m talking too. It makes me feel more connected to them. I tried to find a way to give my readers an idea of who I am, without making it possible for someone to recognize me. I’m so happy you like it!

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      1. hum….you dropped a thought in my head to consider…seeing a picture who you’re talking to. I’m clearly not a red rose…maybe I should change the pic to one of me. But but but then I can’t hide! lmao

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  2. Very well written!!! Just wanted to bring to your notice- its “Bengal Tiger” not “Bengel Tiger”. It caught my attention cause even I belong to the same state, Bengal.

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  3. Water treatment…make work. blah blah boring, right? Its boring to me just thinking about it. But hey you did it, got through it, get it out of your head right now! lol

    The LIfe of Pi, I too found it a little lagging in the first pages and put it down. I have to be in the right mind to read certain types of writing…but as Hollywood is still open for business they kindly released the MOVIE of Life of Pi! *giggles* for us lazy readers during the holidays! Yippeee.

    Not to take away from your essay though..

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    1. Yeah, but how often have movies based on books ever been good? I feel like you lose so much of what’s in the character’s head when you see the movie! Try to read the book before you see the movie, please!?!

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      1. I completely agree. For me the book is ALWAYS better even if the movie is good and sticks close to the story without huge modifications. The images in my head rarely match those in the movie and then that annoys me. Stupid Hollywood don’t they know the guy looks like THIS? I can honestly say I’ve never seen a movie that was better than the book. Can’t think of a one. Don’t worry I really have no plans to go to see the movie or any movie for that matter so reading the book is much more likely.

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