By Bailey Bickerstaff
Ah, another school year. I rather love new school years, because I like to try to imagine, create in my mind if you will, what the new school year will be like. And I then look back at my ridiculously unrealistic expectations at the end of the year and wonder where it all went wrong.
However, the experience that has yet to fail my expectations is writing. While others might bang their heads against a wall when their English teacher assigns a two page paper, I am disappointed that it wasn’t three. (Yeah, I’m that kid). I love the thrill of pouring my heart and soul into an essay that my teacher will probably only take about three minutes to read and grade. I was so excited that I got to write a college level essay on the TSI that I practically cried when I got my scores back. Which in hindsight is a little embarrassing, but we’re all friends here, right? I love writing, playing with words, knowing that I can create anything I want.
For example, I can make you want a cherry pie by describing how thick and warm the crust was, how red and juicy the cherries were, how Grandma put two cups of sugar into the recipe instead of one. I can make you want to go back and relive your childhood memories by describing where I spent most of my childhood: in the airstrip behind my grandparents’ home, playing baseball until the planes landed and we had to move out of the way, picking tomatoes off a tomato tree with my grandmother, watching my grandfather cook steaks, and, best of all flying. The feeling of soaring through the blue sky, free, was unmatched.
I love the feeling that words create when you mine a particularly good string of them. Words are everything. Words can heal, build castles, distract hurting children, and make you glad you are the person you are. Writing itself, for those who love words, is an exhilarating experience. You feel as if you have just created something, your very own, and no one can create exactly what you just did. Perhaps why writing is so difficult at times, and people say they are not writers, is because writing is an extremely vulnerable process. When you write anything, whether a thank-you card, an academic essay, or an opinion piece like I am writing now, you are not just writing letters on a page, you are writing the depths of your soul. No matter the subject, or how you word it, something moved you enough to put what you think down on paper.
My humanities teacher mentioned this thought the other day, and for the first time I thought about what being a writer really is. I did not call myself a writer. I felt it would be a disservice to the brilliant artists who have created unimaginably glorious pieces of literature to define myself in the same category as they.
Paul thought otherwise. 1 Timothy 4:12 states, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young” and I’m creating my own translation right here: do what you are doing; what you are good at, anyway. I am a writer. I am not a particularly good one. I do not write fantastic pieces of literature that will be revered for centuries. I am only a student, and I am still learning, but I am a writer all the same.
It is true for you, too. You are still a student, a baseball player, a friend, an artist. I think what Paul is articulating, is that while you may feel overshadowed, you are never in the darkness.
This is why I stay up too late, drink too much coffee (which I claim to hate, ask me, I’ll deny it) and stress about the smallest details. If you doubt this, I once lay on the floor and stared at the ceiling for two hours because I couldn’t edit an essay I was writing down to 600 words. Which, if you ask my mother, is procrastination, but you’ll have to decide that one for yourself. This is the reason I enjoy the feeling of coming to school in an inarticulate-induced panic: the outcome, what I put out into the world for people to read, outweighs any (all) the stress I endured. Kind’ve like life. Funny how that works.