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Shouts And Murmurs Essay Examples

**{: .break one} ** . . . your entrance essay must not only demonstrate your grasp of grammar and ability to write lucid, structured prose, but also paint a vivid picture of your personality and character, one that compels a busy admissions officer to accept you. —Online college-application editing service. **

It was a seventeenth-century English-person John Donne who wrote, “No man is an island.” An excellent statement, but it is also true that “No woman is also an island.”

The truth of this was brought home dramatically on September 11, 2001. Despite the fact that I was only twelve at the time, the images of that day will not soon ever be forgotten. Not by me, certainly. Though technically not a New Yorker (since I inhabit northwestern Wisconsin), I felt, as Donne would put it, “Part of the main,” as I watched those buildings come down. Coincidentally, this was also the day my young sibling came down with a skin ailment that the doctors have not yet been able to determine what it is. It’s not like his skin condition was a direct result of the terrorist attack, but it probably didn’t help.

I have a personal connection to the events of that day, for some years ago my uncle by marriage’s brother worked in one of the towers. He wasn’t working there on 9/11, but the fact that he had been in the building only years before brought the tragedy home to Muskelunge Township.

It is for this reason that I have resolved to devote my life to bringing about harmony among the nations of the world, especially in those nations who appear to dislike us enough to fly planes into our skyscrapers. With better understanding comes, I believe, the desire not to fly planes into each other’s skyscrapers.

Also, I would like to work toward finding a cure for mysterious skin ailments. Candidly, I do not know at this point if I would be a pre-med, which indeed would be a good way to begin finding the cure. But I also feel that I could contribute vitally to society even if I were a liberal-arts major, for instance majoring in writing for television.

Many people in the world community, indeed probably most, watch television. Therefore I feel that by writing for TV I could reach them through that powerful medium, and bring to them a higher awareness of such problems as Global Warming, Avian Flu, earthquakes in places like Pakistan, and the tsumani. Also the situation in the White House with respect to Mr. Scooter Liddy. To be precise, I believe that television could play a key role in warning people living on shorelines that they are about to be hit by one humongous wave. While it is true that in northwest Wisconsin we don’t have this particular problem, it is also true that I think about it on behalf of people who do. No man is an island. To be sure.

Another element in my desire to devote my life to service to humanity was my parents’ divorce. Because I believe that this is valuable preparation for college and, beyond, life. At college, for instance, one is liable to find yourself living in a situation in which people don’t get along, especially in bathrooms. Bathrooms are in that sense a microcosm of the macrocosm. Bathrooms also can be a truly dramatic crucible, as the playright Arthur Miller has demonstrated in his dramaturgical magnum opus by that title.

I am not one to say, “Omigod, like poor me,” despite the fact that my dad would on numerable occasions drink an entire bottle of raspberry cordial and try to run Mamma over with the combine harvester. That is “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.” As the Danish composer Frederick Nietzche declared, “That which does not kill me makes me longer.” This was certainly true of Mamma, especially after being run over.

Finally, what do I bring to the college experience? As President Kennedy observed in his second inaugural, “Ask not what your country can do to you. Ask, what can you do to your country.”

I would bring two things, primarily. First, a positive attitude, despite all this crap I have had to deal with. Secondly, full tuition payment.

While Dad pretty much wiped out the money in the process of running over Mamma—she was in the house at the time—my grandparents say they can pay for my education, and even throw in a little “walking-around money” for the hardworking folks in the admissions department. Grandma says she will give up her heart and arthritis medications, and Grandpa says he will go back to work at the uranium mine in Utah despite the facts that he is eighty-two and legally blind.

In this way, the college won’t have to give me scholarship money that could go to some even more disadvantaged applicant, assuming there is one. ♦

Hmm, what’s my process? Funny, I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me that before. I don’t really have a “process,” per se, just a simple routine that I meticulously follow every day like a disciplined genius robot.

I usually wake up around 5 or 5:05 A.M., and get out of bed immediately. I do not press snooze. I do not start scrolling through Twitter so that the brightness of my phone’s L.E.D. screen will force my eyes into awakeness, but then continue reading tweets for so long that my eyes adjust to the brightness and I get sleepy again.

I meditate first thing in the morning. I do this sitting down on a meditation pillow (which is not painful, because I have naturally good posture). I do not use a meditation app, because I am not a baby. I just set a timer to emit a gentle gong sound after an hour, and I empty my mind. When thoughts do arise, they are usually really smart thoughts about my writing, but I do not hold on to them in a panic, because I have enough faith in myself to know that they will return when it is time.

Then I run ten miles and make a smoothie. I don’t drink coffee, because that would probably just lead to hours of wondering if maybe I haven’t had enough coffee but being unwilling to drink more because I don’t want to get addicted and need more and more coffee every day just to be able to function. The smoothie usually has coconut oil in it—yum!

Finally, it’s time to write.

My desk is a clean, uncluttered expanse that I use solely for writing, and certainly not as a dumping ground for wedding invitations, gum wrappers, and grocery-store receipts that I’m afraid to throw away in case I need them for “tax purposes.” On the wall above my computer, I have taped up an index card with a quote from Kafka or Don DeLillo or some other cool writer, which inspires me anew each time I look at it. You’d think that I would become blind to it after a while, or that I might occasionally feel embarrassed by its pretentiousness when guests come over, but nope! It’s just constantly inspirational and not embarrassing.

I remain seated at my desk for the entirety of my writing session. (I do not attempt to convince myself that I could be just as productive if I were writing in bed, and that it would be kind of fun and “like college.”)

I don’t need to disable my Internet connection, because—honestly?—I’m not even tempted. I understand that social media does not hold the answers I seek, and that looking at it will only make me feel terrible. And, what’s more, my understanding of this fact translates seamlessly into my actual behavior.

I have a friendly relationship with the mysterious forces that govern my creative inspiration—my muses, if you will. When they visit me, a soft smile alights on my lips. “Hello, old friends,” I murmur fondly. My experience of writing is a giddy, pleasurable one, and does not feel like being trapped inside a cage that is on fire.

When I write, I let my characters speak through me—I am but a vessel for their words. I shut out all distractions and turn off my phone, because I definitely don’t worry that if I take too long to text people back they’ll decide they hate me and never text me again.

In the afternoon, I typically take a long walk. I do not listen to podcasts. Why would I? The music of the natural world is podcast enough. As you may have noticed, a running theme in my process is that I am not afraid to be alone with my thoughts. Not at all.

Of course, some days the muses may not visit me. When this occurs, I accept the situation with equanimity and give myself permission to write a clumsy first draft and vigorously edit it later. This approach is possible because I understand that my intrinsic self-worth is separate from my talent and my productivity, and because I know that I am deserving of love even if my writing is not very good. This gives me the freedom to take risks, which, in turn, actually makes my writing very good. Funny, right?

If I am truly stuck, I read a book. I do not watch a twenty-two-minute sitcom as a “break” from the immense stress of waking up and sitting down at a desk. Not even if there is a new episode on Hulu of a show I don’t particularly like but have seen every previous episode of.

Anyway, I guess that’s my process. It’s all about repetition, really—doing the same thing every single day. No one else in the world cares at all, yet I still do it! Because I, a human being, have the self-control to maintain this routine in a complete vacuum of social interaction or any positive reinforcement.

Oh, and I almost forgot—I go to bed super early. ♦