Why I Write

Why I Write

Such beauty can be found in such ugliness when writing.
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There are two people in my community who wrote about why they write. After writing for "Millennials of New Jersey" for a month, I would like to share my own reasons. Here is what motivates me, as well as how I want to apply my aspirations to my writing.

Concurrently with writing, I also enjoy the thrill of taking unorganized matter and reshaping them into my own arrangement. Along with writing, I reshape jumbled paragraphs, (often separating sentences and putting them in paragraphs with a similar subject,) and materialize them into a cohesive essay or short story. There is also thrill in making transitioning sentences at the beginning and ending of a paragraph, which comes with organization.

I also keep in mind word choice, especially since it was instilled in me by my English Composition instructor at Brookdale to avoid colloquial phrases and generalities. Although such techniques can be familiarized with anyone reading, it would not be acceptable of me to write such words in both academic and creative situations. This has allowed me to expand my vocabulary and see which ones applied to any specific context. I have found that such restrictions can be liberating, as paradoxical as it seems. In the case of the words, "Why I Chose To Write," I apply that phrase to writing in general as opposed to writing just for "Odyssey." While the other writer has brought up her reasons rooted in childhood, I try to talk about all times of my life.

Trying to figure out what to write, in terms of a narrowed research topic, involves reading articles on what I hope to write about. As I read the parts that interest me, suddenly the topic and its supporting points I want to write about become more apparent. As a former History major, I developed this method of expanding those parts into an essay. If I'm looking for a specific word in a book, I look for it in the index and see how many pages it appears in.

Like coming up with a topic for research essays, I find inspiration whenever I read literature, watch a film, listen to music, or recall personal experience. The adventures and dramas are usually played out in my imagination without a cohesive story. It is only when I bring the fingertip to the keyboard or the pen to paper that I scribe the story and the characters. When I was little, it was video games that inspired my fiction. I can remember writing stories of Harry Potter-inspired characters within a setting modeled after Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64. It was not the plots of those two games that I paid attention to, but the mechanism of jumping through paintings, into a treasure chest, through a pipe, and inside a sunken ship into entire worlds which fascinated me.

While I do have the superfluous reasons for writing, I also have my more material reasons as well. I want to receive renown and prosperity. I was introduced to "The Odyssey Online" through a fellow student at Monmouth University, who used to be a Content Creator; as well as another student, who has written her articles about commemorating Carrie Fisher and managing anxiety. This reason also led me to eventually join "Millennials of New Jersey" as a Content Creator.

Although I was taught that Wikipedia is an unreliable source and should not be used as formal citation, I found that it can be a gateway to more reliable forms of information, primarily in the External Links sections. I am also grateful to have the privilege of attending Monmouth University where not only do I have access to the databases, but also the physically bound library books in the well-known Murray & Leona Guggenheim Library.

I also intend to write blogs; with one for general aesthetics (film, literature, music) and the other for science (linguistics). I do not want to hawk them on this article, but I hope that they can be a foot in the door for some opportunity. I can remember attending an English major conference when I was at Brookdale Community College and one of the panels had to do with journalism and how starting a blog is one way of getting into that field.

When I am writing a research article, such as the ones on the Gullah and Powhatan languages, I lose myself in the research and end up having a 2900-worded nerdgasm. This only happens when I am passionate about the subject I am writing about. One of my passions is endangered languages. One reason is because of the fascinating phenomenon of people shaping their identities around a world of information in the face of imperialism and capitalism, whether it would be indigenous or creole; even going so far as to name in their own language either their children or themselves. Another reason comes from personal empathy. As someone who struggled with social problems growing up and continues to struggle, I can understand people trying to reclaim their means of communication when I have spent my whole life reclaiming my own.

My writing also helped me live through hurtful moments in my life. Even today, I continue to struggle with the amorphous afflictions of melancholy, worthlessness, misery, and paranoia that have made my foresight into the future bleaker. My writing styles, settings, characters, and word choice enabled me to see such beauty in such ugliness. In that way, I make these problems work for me, not against me. Whenever I am tasked with a terrible experience, I always examine it and come to an almost-sociopathic conclusion "How can this benefit my writing?"

My problems becoming my benefits is another paradox. I can only describe such an idea in Aldous Huxley's Those Barren Leaves. After remembering her deceased cousin in the middle of a dinner, Miss Thriplow was described as:

"...proud to be able to suffer so much; she encouraged her suffering...Mingled with her grief there was a certain sense of satisfaction. After all, this had happened quite by itself, of its own accord, and spontaneously. She had always told people that she was sensitive, had a deep and quivering heart. This was a proof. Nobody knew how much she suffered, underneath. How could people guess what lay behind her gaiety?...Her laughter, her little railleries were the mask that hid from the outside world what was in her soul; they were her armour against a probing and wounding curiosity."

She then wants to write a short story with the experience as inspiration. It's also on the part of a great author to instill the reader with empathy. Becoming a writer has been a dream since childhood. I want to be an old famous author rummaging through packages in the mail and finding all of my written work bound into volumes upon volumes.

By writing, I am following the footsteps of the authors who inspired me: Joseph Conrad, Frank Herbert, Aldous Huxley, George R. R. Martin, and Ayn Rand; as well as the authors who inspired them, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Vance, H. P. Lovecraft, H. G. Wells, etc.; as well as the authors who inspired those inspirations; and on and on. Not only am I inspired by these authors' characters, settings, and themes, but also their writing style, whether it would be Fitzgerald's one-liner dialogue or Martin's wittiness.

My protagonists are my Charons. For a price, we travel with them down the River Styx and into the bleak, dreary underworld. To paraphrase George R. R. Martin, he said in interviews that:

"All of us have it in us to be angels; and all of us have it in us to be monsters."

He made it a point to me that human morality is very complex. That quote and reading the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series was what inspired me to write my point-of-view characters with Martinian greyness.

I am also following his advice on becoming a writer. I have yet to get a short story published in a literary magazine. Even though the short story that I wrote, edited, did research for, and revised for a month is yet to be accepted by any one magazine, I still pursue it. Either I would find a niche market for hard fantasy or I change my story to make it more speculative. That is also what makes short story writing fascinating; for it allows me to adapt to whatever market I end up in and forces me to either go beyond my imagination or compensate for lack of it. If I want to submit to a magazine that is based on the Weird Western genre, then I'll push the limits of how I originally conceived the Wild West and immerse myself in the research in order to provide believability.


When I was a boy, I always imagined Heaven as having my own little cloud-estate where I would write quadrillions of pages. If my profession involves writing, I am already in Heaven. But even if the prospect is not present, I still have that urge to continue writing.

Cover Image Credit: Corbet, Gustav. "Self-Portrait (The Desperate Man)." 1843-5. The State of the Arts. Madness, Brilliance, and the Trope of the "Tortured Artist." 15 Oct. 2016. Web. 20 Aug. 2017.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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20 Things I'd Do If The Concept Of Time Was Abolished

If only our lives weren't limited by time.

amrojas
amrojas
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Recently, news outlets have been reporting on how the people of Sommarøy, a Norwegian island located north of the arctic circle, would like to remove the concept of time. This is largely in part due to the fact that the sun does not set during much of the summer nor does it rise during the winter. The inhabitants of Sommarøy do not have rigidly separated days and nights like the rest of the world and can be found doing normal daytime activities at 2 am in the summers.

They also would like to take clocks out of their society. Although this lifestyle might seem impractical to the rest of us, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to live in a world where time is irrelevant, in regards to the concept AND the physical effects of its passing. This newfound information gave rise to ideas of things (some simple, some whimsical) I'd do if the concept of time did not exist and we had as much time to do the things we wanted.

1. Live on a ship at sea.

2. Watch a flower grow from a seed to its death.

3. Apply as much makeup as desired without being late.

4. Retake my favorite college courses and participate as fully as I possibly can, including the completion of every single reading and film.

5. Take a non-stop trip through every country in the world.

6. Learn to play and fully master every single musical instrument in existence.

7. Watch a full rotation of Earth around the sun from space.

8. Live by myself in a cabin at the edge of the woods a la Thoreau.

9. Reread every single book that shaped my childhood.

10. Have a brief conversation with every old friend.

11. Re-drink that first sip of the perfect cup of coffee.

12. Observe how the tides change with the lunar cycle.

13. Learn as many languages as possible.

14. Sit at the beach and listen to music for days.

15. Train for an Olympic event.

16. Write a detailed, thorough analysis of every track in my favorite movie soundtracks.

17. Take a photo of every interesting place I visit and every little nook I find peace in and make a physical photo album.

18. Cook food without burning it.

19. Watch a star's life cycle from birth to death.

20. Replay the feeling of coming home.

amrojas
amrojas

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