The Writer’s Quest

A heavily corrected paper written in 2003.

Durfee High School’s Mr. James Tavares sat in front of an Advanced Placement class. He challenged his senior students to write a descriptive story of an object’s perspective. Students couldn’t identify the item, but their words had to evoke emotion. As a member of that class, I realized this lesson would change the way I thought about writing forever.

James Tavares, English Teacher Durfee High School, 2004

I wrote about a tree. I envisioned a peaceful forest, being interrupted by the murmuring of chainsaws. I illustrated in great detail the cutting, shaping, and drilling the piece of wood endured as it became transformed into a guitar. Mr. Tavares felt sympathetic for the wood, and for the first time, I felt confident in my ability to write.

Relationship with Writing

Although I don’t identify myself as a writer, writing is an essential part of who I have become.  I find myself writing daily, mostly for the students in my classroom. Most of my writing focuses on technical writing, lesson planning, crafting letters of recommendations, and communicating expectations. Often my words celebrate achievements and provide updates from the classroom to parents and other stakeholders.  

Writing isn’t the most natural experience for me and feels like a journey is beginning. I start looking at a blank screen, unsure how to begin and uncertain how to craft a firm conclusion. I realize people count on me, and I don’t want to be unclear or misconstrue anything. The fear of writing sometimes hinders my confidence.

Writing Process

My writing process can be compared to Tolkien’s Frodo Baggins, just about to start his quest to Mount Mordor. I can relate to the feeling of dread as he embarked on his daunting task. Similarly, I can feel the same weight as my writing.  As the open cursor blinks on an empty screen, I begin to feel paralyzed, unsure of the path that leads to success. 

As letters become words and words become sentences, I can feel myself develop confidence. When considerable progress has occurred, writing begins to feel much more natural. Once in a groove, I find it crucial to stop,  take a walk, and grab a snack. My relationship with snacks is equivalent to the essential support Samwise Gamgee offered to Frodo Baggins. Once the snacks are done, it’s time to revisit my mission.

Then finally, I’ve done it. I’ve reached Mount Mordor and finished my quest. “I have written something,” I boldly exclaim! Then another document, story, or email needs to be created, and we start the process all over again. If only Mr. Tavares could see me now.

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