Thursday, September 30, 2010

Design Writing Criticism: Why I Write

Wednesday was my first day of class for a Masters in Design Writing Criticism. Although it was a long first day, I think I was mostly tired afterwards due to the excitement of beginning this next adventure. Finally!

For the first day, Teal Triggs (the course director), asked us to write no more than 250 words on "Why I Write." It was an assignment I'd had before, actually. But I've always found that my reasons for writing are in constant flux. The more I do it, the more articulate I am about why I do it. Two years before, I wrote an essay called "Why I Write," and in retrospect, the piece needed a lot more work. It was, however, an ideal kernel to have in my memory over the next couple of years.

I've taken so many notes for this assignment. Scattered through random TextEdit files and notebooks, many are simple phrases: I write because speaking makes me blush; I write because it's necessary; I write because it's better therapy than buying clothes or exercise. About a week into the assignment, I wasn't getting much farther than writerly one-liners. So I forced myself to start thinking anecdotally. "Forget about the word limit," I thought. "You'll work it out later." And that's when I realized how to talk about why I write.

This time last year, I was in the wild throes of applying for a humongous scholarship to pay for all of my post grad education. I worked on the application constantly. It was an exhausting process, and anyone who knew I was applying also knew that I cried every day. Every. Single. Day. It's the kind of scholarship that even the people who get it joke about — The scholarship that no one gets. The scholarship that everyone should have because everyone who applies is the most incredible, qualified person. Everyone deserves it. No one deserves it. Well, whether or not I deserved it, I didn't get it. Still, after sending in my application, I wrote a letter to myself and reminded myself why I devoted so much time and energy to an uncertain. I knew then that no matter what happened, I had no regrets. I still wanted to punch the decision committee in the collective face when I learned I was not a recipient; but I would do it all over again, knowing what I know now.

So, a year later, this essay on "Why I Write" is somewhat of a reflection on those several months of my life. It also serves as a wallet-sized reminder of why I am here, in London, as a Masters student. I'm keeping it close because this year is going to be hard. And sometimes, in really tough situations, the most comforting words are your own.


Kristin said...

Great post!

I looked back on that assignment recently too and realized how surface value mine was. It's hard to put into words what is at the very core of our beings- and very courageous to try. Bravo!

Delacachette said...

Brilliant post! Very personal but so relevant to any one else who enjoy to write (or at least to read good writings). Continue car tu es très douée !