Personal Essay - Reading and Writing

Doug Lee

Lacking experience in writing and reading, English is my most feared subject. It is the one and only vulnerable spot in my otherwise invincible academic armor. I hate writing and I despise reading. Other than magazines, I cannot recall reading anything since "The Crucible" which was a teacher assigned book in my sophomore high school English class. Not that I read a lot before that, I don't remember reading any books in my middle school years neither. Now, with this writing assignment since a long time, my brain feels like an old rusty engine of an 81 Porsche cranking up for the first time in years, readying to compete in the English 1A heat.

My parents and my favorite math teacher always told me that I'm a very bright individual and my accomplishments in other subjects prove that. I approached and conquered the subjects of math, science, and history like a paladin in gold, yet faced with writing, I would coward in fear. To me, writing equals to nothing more than stress and frustration. A useless hassle and senseless boredom which I thought was too stupid to waste effort on. Therefore I have shied away from this department for as long as I can remember and focused all my energy toward the areas I have strength and faith in.

The writing compartment in my brain is very restricted. I lack flexibility in the use of words and phrases. A typical sentence of mine, starts with "I", "It", "Because", "The", "But", "Therefore". It is extremely difficult for me to think of new ways to begin sentences or use sophisticated sentence patterns which I see in other people's essays. But when it comes to grammar, I am extremely proud because there are usually no corrections on the essays my teachers hand back, or maybe it's because they're too lazy to correct them.

When I'm actually writing, I write as fast as a turtle can crawl. A 2 page essay usually takes me around 6 hours to finish. My teacher once told me to use a process called brainstorming which I tried but found it not very helpful. It's no brain buster for me to start an essay. I just sit down, roll up my sleeve and start jotting down that first sentence. But what comes next is an arduous journey. I usually have thoughts going on in my head and while I'm pondering on which thought to put down on paper, I would forget what they were and I have to start thinking all over again. It is extremely taxing on me mentally. Once I'm stuck, which occurs almost after every sentence, I would reread the whole essay again. Worst yet, I have a fond habit of procrastinating. I can only write in peace and quiet, and that's only possible after everyone's in bed. Then surrounded by the infinity darkness of my room, I would merge with my paper and pen under the dim table lamp voided from the consciousness of space and time. Only when dawn glimpse through my window, would this timeless eternity be shattered. I would wait until night to start my writing trek, and "night" means the night before the assignment is due. This way I can finish the essay in one attempt instead of having to span over a course of days which would cause me to lose track of what I was writing and the essay would end up looking partitioned.

When it comes to reading, I can honestly tell you, "I love reading". I read tons of magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly, PC Magazine, Sport Compact Cars, Popular Science, just to name a few. When I read a magazine, I don't just scan through it, I delve deeply into the text and study the rich information it contains. By reading magazines, I learn a great deal, from technical knowledge to new vocabularies. But magazines are all that I enjoy reading and nothing more. I hate reading newspapers and textbook, other than "History of the U.S." which I found quite interesting. I hate reading long boring novels even more. They just plain sucks. So like all my other classmates, I skipped reading all the books assigned to me. I would just listen to class discussions and on the essays, I would just repeat the ideas I heard.