Sunday, November 14, 2010

In My Opinion

“Fifteen writing assignments, how hard could it be?” I thought as I read the syllabus. I have had this particular instructor for my whole college writing career and I felt pretty comfortable I could meet his demands. In my opinion, he is tough but fair and his criticisms are constructive and tempered with a sense of humor usually. The topics seemed pretty straightforward and I moved forward with enthusiasm. Then week 10 rolled around, an opinion essay.

Now how hard could that be? Everybody has opinions about something, and I have more than my share about most things. I started out with a fairly noncontroversial topic of my opinion of people who leave their Christmas wreaths up too long. By February as I see the dead brown wreaths hanging on the door, I am so irritated I want to rip it off the door myself. But alas, as the piece unfolded I knew it was a fluff piece that wouldn’t hold weight. Okay, so maybe I needed a tougher topic. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet, there had to be something I felt strongly enough about to get over five hundred words out. I still held high hopes as I deleted six hundred and ninety two words. I still thought I could nail this (foolhardy I know), but for chrissakes it is only an opinion essay, and I have plenty of them. I refused to get frustrated.

I moved on to a much more profound subject of uninformed opinions. I had great examples using buffoons like Paul LePage and his bull semen snafu and how the ladies at the nail salon actually believed him. I went on and on about how uninformed opinions could be dangerous to society. Once again as the writing went on, my opinions just wouldn’t flow to produce a paper worthy of John Goldfine, so the delete button went into action again. My opinion of how easy this essay was going to be started to waiver but I carried on.

How children behave and are disciplined in public, another pet peeve of mine, was next on the slaughtering block. I typed about how ninety-nine percent of the public did not think your children were as cute and cuddly as you do. I mentioned your screaming child behind me during dinner made me want to puke the dinner I had just eaten all over you as payback. It seemed cute and snappy as I wrote, but on the rereading it didn’t fly. My opinion of this easy assignment was starting to waiver, but still I persevered.

I could go on and on with the topics I picked, started the essay, and ending up deleting the whole damn thing, but the reality is nothing worked. The assignment was already past due and I was becoming just a little panicked over the whole thing. My opinion on this assignment was not only starting to waiver, but was getting downright pissy.

Then it happened. A friend and I were discussing the pros and cons of social networking; yes, there was a topic and I wrote it. I wrote about the good, I wrote about the bad, and I wrote about my opinion of the medium of social networking. I reread it and I read it to someone else. It seemed like a go, so I posted it and waited anxiously. Then it was there, the one comment that would be the difference between six hundred more words and an adult beverage. It was not good news, six hundred more words it would be. My opinion on the opinion essay is not what it was when I started. It is easy to have opinions but to put them to paper is a whole other story.


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  2. :)

    There you go! Can't get any closer to our mutual home (ENG 262) than this! Your opinion of opinion plus a meta-piece on the difficulty of writing week 10.

    You guys are my guinea pigs--it's a new course--and I wouldn't have predicted so much pain over week 10, but there has been, not just SAT.

    Anyway, I know that as you sat down to write this earlier, you were pissed, determined, and loaded for bear, and I know further that by the time you were into the second graf you knew you had a winner and the damned thing rolled off your fingertips with a minimum of misery.

    And here's where the words of wisdom come in: it was only the false starts that allowed you to write this. I don't mean in the sense that the false starts provided you with your material though that's true. I mean that sometimes a topic only yields to the writer after a struggle and the final product could only exist after the mental turmoil of the struggle.

  3. You know me so well. I can't believe after 4 more writing assignments we'll be done. I'll miss you but I will take with me the new appreciation of writing I have gained over 3 semesters of writing for you. Hopefully, you'll let me bounce things off you when I have problems as I move on to my bachelor's degree at St. Joseph's College.

  4. Congratulations on going on to St. Joe's! I'll always be glad to read and react to anything you care to show me.