I recently wrote a college essay on some of my intellectual interests and I listed “writing” as one of them. When I wrote that I initially hated writing, I wasn’t lying. I truly despised it. That was probably because my grandmother would chase me around the house with a pencil and notebook in her hand and force me to write essays on weird topics like “What does the chair in the sitting room mean to you?” How should I know? It’s a chair. At the time, I would much rather have played football with my lazy cousin or watched Courage the Cowardly Dog on TV.
It was only from the 6th Grade that I started enjoying creative writing. A lot of credit goes to my then-English teacher, Mr. Pitts, whose fun classes really helped me appreciate writing. He gave us unusual-for-school topics like “Why do you love Gaming?” and asked us to write the essays as if we were narrating a story to our best-friend.
English class suddenly became something I would look forward to everyday. I mean, who wouldn’t want to write an essay on gaming for school homework?! It might not seem out of the ordinary to you who are reading this, but the Indian education system can be pretty anachronistic at times and Mr. Pitts was a breath of fresh air.
I started enjoying writing more and more. My grandmother on seeing Mr. Pitts’ success with me, changed her strategy and started giving me essays on topics like “Star Wars or Star Trek” and I was really loving writing now. I remember the time I filled up an entire notebook with what I thought were brilliant short stories and forced all my family members to read every story. I laugh when I read them now (the horror stories in particular were laughably bad), but it helps me see just how far I’ve come.
I’m not the most vocal person and before I started writing, I didn’t really have the freedom or the ability to give my thoughts a voice. That’s why I like writing so much – because it gives me the opportunity to express myself and not much else allows me to do that to the same degree.
Thinking about it, I would now happily write an essay on what that chair in the sitting room means to me. I can just imagine ten-year old me looking at me with a pained expression on his face at the thought of that.