Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Writing Myself: Reflections on the Process

I rarely write about myself, even for personal reflection.  In my journals I write layers of text on every page, making my thoughts virtually unreadable after they're out.  This first assignment was a difficult one for me because I not only had to write about me, but I also chose a topic that I have been trying and failing to put into words for years.  I started out trying to write exclusively about my experience as a ten-year-old kid in the weeks following 9/11, but I realized that my real turning point in terms of analyzing this event took place in Quito when I was finally away from North America for the day.  Even after that insight, I had trouble trying to fit in the most important parts of the past-tense narrative.  I feel like the topic is so big that I can't explain it well without boring everyone with too many details, but I tried to narrow it down to important ones.  I also had a difficult time identifying my audience or pinpointing the best way to tell the story to an audience at all.

I'm not sure if I adequately described Dearborn in a way that will help readers understand my neighborhood.  I found it difficult to balance talking about the place with talking about myself and to make sure my focus didn't stray to the effects of post-9/11 America on my friends and neighbors.  My experience was different as a Christian kid of European descent because I wasn't the subject of the nation's apparent anger.  I think I still need to work out what exactly the point of my 2001 section is and to tie it in a little closer to the point of my reflection in Quito.

I also feel like I took on a pretty heavy topic, and I had a difficult time trying to just write and not sound preachy or frustrated.  I'd be interested to hear whether or not my tone is relaxed or reflective enough.  Should I use more specific examples from my fifth-grade years, or is it okay to talk about my general feelings?  I'd like to address these things in my re-write.

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