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Journal Prompt 1

September 4, 2011

Whenever I hear the word essay, I typically exhale and sigh as I prepare to write in my planner what it is I have to write about. Its not that I don’t enjoy writing and expressing my opinion, I just don’t like having to write about a specific topic and turn the essay in by a certain date. If it were up to me, I would like the instructor to say “write a novel on any topic, its due at the end of the semester.” During lower, middle, and high school I was brutally forced to write many essays, research papers, and book reports. Through all of these works I have gained a bit of writing skill, and I learned a little bit about the topic I was writing about. The word essay is defined as a short piece of writing on a particular subject. The essays “On Good Writing”, and “Writing to Change the World” seem to cover one main topic, and have a lot of supporting details. In Leo’s case, he used a lot of comedy to convey his message, whereas Pipher chose a slightly more straight forward method. Naturally, Leo’s essay held my attention much better, he used a lot of good examples to convey his message, and it was funny at the same time. I enjoyed reading the first half of Pipher’s essay, the part regarding Anne Frank, however, the rest of the essay was very boring. Both of these essays, nevertheless, have taught me a great deal about writing, and my writing will likely improve as a result of this.

Leo’s essay “On Good Writing” really opened my eyes to the use of superfluous language, and the over use of extraordinarily wonderful adjectives. What I really got from this essay was that writing more complex words, and butchering the english language doesn’t help convey one’s message. You are much better off just saying what you have to say, and getting to the point before the reader gets either bored, or confused. Leo uses a lot of comedy in his essay. He used an example about how a writer was cabling Cary Grant inquiring about his age, the conversation went as follows. “How old Cary Grant?” asked the message. Grant cabled back, “Old Cary Grant fine. How you?” This message is an example of speech without adjectives or useless language, Hemingway was a big fan of this. I learned a great deal from Leo’s essay. I learned to write how I talk, and if at the end of the essay, it sounds like writing, rip it up and re-write it. This essay, as well as Pipher’s, link at the end of leo’s essay when he claims that “writing isn’t a personal or private enterprise. It’s an attempt to change consciousness and change the world.” Writing, when done well, can have a huge impact on society, as well as oneself.

Mary Pipher exclaimed that “All writing is designed to change the world.” I agree with this thought. If the thought is good enough to be written down for oneself, or for the masses, it is intended to change something. If one’s goal is to become happier by writing a journal to themselves, or writing a novel for the world to enjoy, both are designed to change the world. There are many different types of writing, there are journals, novels, essays, poems, and even writings such as propaganda. All of these writings change the world, in a large or small way. Some writings, such as The Diary of Anne Frank, can even destroy a child’s spiritual innocence. A writer’s thoughts and emotions portrayed on paper allow the reader into their thoughts and feelings, one can even feel as though they are part of the writing, or even share the same feelings as they become connected with the author. Writing can, and does change the world.

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