I was required to revise this essay twice, as the instructor believed I did not fulfill the assignment and instead wrote a report.

Assignment: Write a narrative essay on your writing experiences, please use MLA format

Geneva Varga

WR 121 Narrative

4 March 2017

The Spell of Writing

我爱写故事。Oh! Pardon my poor manners, sometimes I unconsciously switch into my second language as I am accustomed to frequently writing in Mandarin. A lot of people ask me how I know Mandarin, my reply is because I am homeschooled. My mother made the decision to teach me at home during the Beijing Summer Olympics. Additionally, because China was in the news often at this time, I begged to learn Chinese. When my mom finally followed through on my request, I knew it would be an adventure of life-long learning. One of the many things she has taught me was to use my imagination and trust my instincts.  This not only allowed my passion for story-telling to grow but also how to enchant people with my words.

One of the first writing experiences I can ever remember was a creative assignment, I chose a panda as the protagonist who lived behind a waterfall in a bamboo forest. She had a band of various animal friends and they went on adventures to save various artifacts, similar to Indiana Jones and his life-threatening quests. I had this wild prospect that I would become a world famous author at only 5 and a half years. Obviously, this didn’t happen, at least not yet.

At one point in time, my family listened to an audio book by Scott O’Dell, The Road to Damietta. The book struck a chord in me which quickly inspiring a frenzy of writing poetry. We had learned about poems only a few months before and it was exciting to know that there was this entirely different path of telling a story. In this arc of prolific poem writing, I wrote one titled Wishes of Thy a Daughters. To this day it ranks as one of my best-written works, mainly because of all the meanings I had hidden in the words.

Eventually, I came to a stand still in writing and I became reluctant to write anything. I questioned how could I write anything better than the poem with hidden meaning? In an effort to breathe new life into my writing, along with experiencing peer works, my mom organized a Writer’s Workshop for homeschool kids. It helped me discover that everyone has a different approach to writing, a different voice. Writer’s Workshop helped me realize how words, sentence structure, and the way we read something aloud, could change the feeling of a story.

Furthermore, it was around this time that I first discovered fan-fiction. Fan-fiction is written works created by fans of popular books, movies, or plays that add a new dimension to the published story, sometimes creating something completely new. While fan-fiction authors are not making a profit from what they create, some are able to build a fan base who hunger to read their original works. Fan-fiction is a really interesting concept. For instance, there could be two pieces of work that are identical in storyline, but one is more enjoyable to read than the other. Fan-fiction provided me a way to continually engage with the characters that I loved, but also to recognize the difference between good, bad, and subpar writing.

While I did not attend public school, this did not mean I was exempt from disliking an assignment. This was especially clear when I had to write a biographical essay about a historical person. It eventually became a yearly assignment and I have since grown to enjoy them, but at the time, the idea of writing about someone else’s life seemed wearisome and lifeless. I knew that I had to choose someone, though I did not want to write the cliché report on George Washington or Sacagawea. Instead of half-heartedly choosing someone, I went to my teacher (Mom) for suggestions. In the process of finding someone whose life intrigued me, Mom expanded the assignment slightly to where I would dress up as the person and give a presentation on their life in first person. This simple change was able to spark my muse, and I hurried to the library to learn everything I could about Marie Curie; I wanted to have the best report. Even though I was able to find joy in my school assignments, it was not the same as writing creatively.

One of my favorite writing assignments took place over the course of a year, the long term goal was to write a magazine based on a topic of interest. At the time, I was in the height of my obsession with Anime (Japanese Animation) and thereby pursued it vehemently. My chosen topic became problematic, however, when I was expected to interview someone who had experience in the field. Here I was, living in a small town on the southern Oregon coast. How was I to write an interview that related to Anime?

As I procrastinated, my mothers tempers began to rise, she was the calm before a storm. My saving grace came a few weeks later when my violin teacher happened to mention that her husband had worked on the animation team at Disney. I had struck gold! He had animated many of the movies my mother had grown up with and shared with me anecdotes of his experiences. His story became the centerpiece of my magazine, tying everything together – even the color scheme. To this day, the collection of writing I created for The Otaku Habit is what I am most proud.

Several years ago during a weekend trip to San Fransisco, I lead my family into a bookstore. My family dawdled along behind me already predicting the amount of time I would spend here, in perfect contrast to my frantic eyes scanning every shelf of the store. It was here that I discovered a book that expressed everything I wanted to achieve in my writing. Buried beneath dusty tomes at the back of the store, I had stumbled upon Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe when my arms were enveloped in a mountain of intriguing books. I instinctively knew now why I had felt the undeniable urge to enter this bookstore in particular.

It was exhilarating to read the thoughts of a character with whom I so identified. While I had previously enjoyed numerous other books and liked the characters, this was a completely new experience. I immediately connected with Ari. Suddenly all of my previous writing appeared to be in a forest dipped in the sweet fog of a hazy morning.  I had always aspired to write a book, but now I had a vision and clarity in what I wanted to say. My writing became flush and vivid.

Homeschooling has not only shaped me as a being, but how I approach writing. To me, writing is the expression of experiences and feelings. Writing holds a universe of opportunity, it contains hopes, failures, nightmares, and dreams. I have always imagined myself as a traveling bard who would tell stories around the crackle of a campfire and capture the listener’s hearts with my fables of adventure and incredulity. 我希望你喜欢我的故事。

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