Editor thankful for being tricked into interest in writing


With it being my last month with The Knight, I figured it’d be appropriate and mildly interesting to reflect on how I got to a point where I have had the opportunity to write what can accurately be described as, more or less, nonsense for the university newspaper’s Perspective section each week.
Having come from a private, all-boys high school — an experience I encourage everyone to have at least once in their lifetime — I’ve had a few strict teachers in my day, but none were stricter than my junior year English professor, Mr. Boone.
Mr. Boone was, and I’m assuming still is, a towering, frightening man with a booming voice and a penchant for law and order. He would have had a strong case for a raise if he ever leveraged the fact that he was probably the sole reason we never needed a hall monitor, but he recently retired. He was famous for adding students to his presumably imaginary “manure roster,” and while he likely scared many a freshman to the point of their bladder misfiring, I could at least appreciate his sense of humor, however diabolical it may have been, even before having class with him.
By our third year, those of us who were, at the time it seemed, unlucky enough to have been placed in his class knew it wasn’t going to be a cake walk. Whether it was for failing to arrive clean-shaven that day to letting out a yawn mid-lecture, the offenses worth a scolding transcended not knowing the definition of a vocabulary word or what transpired in the latest chapter of whatever book we were reading.
With that being said, I can say this — fear may just be the greatest motivator in life, as it’s been proven to me time and again through school, sports and otherwise. That was probably the only year I ever read every page of every book, which included “The Catcher in the Rye” and “The Great Gatsby,” and also put a greater effort toward obtaining a grasp on English and writing mechanics. A real grasp, not a text-messaging, Twitter, pseudo-English grasp.
Mr. Boone believed that students wrote their best when it was a topic of their choosing, so while the technique for writing assignments like “argumentative” or “narrative” essays were taught, what they consisted of was only limited to our imagination. Not-so-long story short, whatever interest I have in creative writing today is largely due to someone who demanded proficiency also granting enough freedom to his students to subtly encourage said interest. Not-so-long story even shorter, I got tricked.
Writing inspired is something I’ve grown to enjoy immensely, and if I particularly like anything I’ve written, I tend to spend an extensive amount of time nit-picking every little detail of it. Luckily, computers are quite accommodating and understanding of this obsessive compulsion and rather than needing to splatter a draft with white-out, I only need to keep a bottle of eye drops handy.
On the other hand, writing uninspired is extremely difficult. Sometimes there’s simply nothing I have to say —which is sort of how the idea for this column came about — or whatever there is to be said isn’t exactly appropriate to be published for everybody to read. Some weeks I’ve joked that the title of my column should have been “Editor writes column because he has to.”
Still, while coming up with 600 words out of thin air every issue hasn’t always been easy, I’ll miss it. Each week I gain an even greater understanding of how valuable it was to be motivated in a way that depicted writing as a creative outlet rather than a torturous academic exercise, and I hope to somehow find the time and platform to continue writing after my days of publishing nonsense in The Knight are over.
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