Friday, November 7, 2014

Midwestern Wilderness (Personal Essay Draft 2)

In my revised essay, I wrote about a different experience, as I received the feedback that my previous topic was somewhat cliche. Also, I tried to use with a more comprehensible and clear form in my writing to minimize any confusion on the part of the reader. I also tried to incorporate the Book of Mormon by likening my own experience to that of its characters. I strove to include concrete detail and to fully characterize the people described in my essay.

The sun is bright and fierce, even in December. It bleaches all it touches and warming my blonde hair uncomfortably. I sit pensively, chin cupped in my palm, elbow digging into my thigh, on the front steps of my house and observe the neighborhood that I will be leaving in just a few short minutes. The outside fa├žades of the houses have become familiar to me, as have their inhabitants.
            Right next door, the house of light caramel-colored brick and grand curving columns houses Darren. Darren, who has dark, bumpy scars around his ear from a car accident, which he explained to me matter-of-factly the first time I met him at the school bus stop. He calls himself the “love doctor” and apparently has many success stories in his fourth-grade class. Although he is only a year older than me, he takes it upon himself to educate me on all the intricacies of romance counseling. He has a big rectangular pool and a cotton candy machine that spins out wispy, bubble-gum pink fluff that dissolves, ephemeral and sweet, in your mouth.
The next house has dark blue plantation shutters and a wide southern porch. Inside, Tessa with wide, owl eyes beneath her purple-framed glasses that made her look perpetually hyper, is probably cooking with her beloved easy- bake oven that my sister passionately covets. She is a foster kid and always threatens to have her jailbird brother beat my brother up when they don’t get along (which is most of the time).
            Then there is the house at the end of the culd-a-sac that is long and slightly curved and has big plastic rocks in front of it to cover up the pipes sticking out of their lawn. The twins with their tight curls and reserved private school uniforms live there. Sometimes, they come out and ride bikes with or rollerblade with me or even let me hop around a little with their moon- shoes.
            Across the street, is a huge red brick house surrounded by a high fence that imposes over the neighborhood. It has white stone crests that contrast from the brick and a huge, wooden door with a heavy metal knocker. It seems to be modeled after a medieval castle stronghold or the repository of the texts of an ancient secret society. My family always speculates as to the identity of its owners and what inspired their house’s design. I will miss that.
            And then there is our house. It has a black, wrought iron fence and a steep, softly curving driveway that leads to garage doors that look like barn doors. It roosts on top of a slight hill, that we sled down after a rare sleet-storm last year, excited to finally put on our coats and snow boots.
            I will miss standing in the rain at the bus stop, leaf-surfing in the fast moving water of the gutters. I will miss the heat of sun and the sweet, smoky scent of Memphis barbeque. I will miss hearing the rumble of the train just behind the fence of our big yard and how the weeping willows bend in the wind as it rushes past. But my parents say that moving to Minnesota is the right thing for our family; they prayed about it and Heavenly Father wants us to move there.
            I am like Nephi. I love this town and my home and my friends. But I trust in my parent’s revelation and I will go with them into the unknown wilderness, of the Midwest.
            I get up and turn around and take one final look at my house, commit it to memory, before I climb into the white suburban.

<photo.JPG>            I spent most of the drive listening to the intermittent bickering of my five siblings and the wailing of my baby brother pinned in his car seat for hour upon hour. The farther into the mid-west my family journeyed, the colder it got. After a night spent in Wisconsin, my sisters and I huddled underneath three blankets, shivering in the unaccustomed cold and begged my Dad to turn up the heat.
            My first impression of Minnetonka, Minnesota was of a dreary and gray town blanketed, or rather suffocated, by the huge drifts of dingy snow. The wet, cold seemed to seep into my bones. Cruel, grasping tendrils bitter wind threatened to pull of my coat’s hood and steal inside. We seemed to have left the pleasant warmth of paradise for the lower levels of inferno. I felt lost in this arctic wilderness, so different from the land of warmth and sunshine from whence we came.
            In this blue period, I let loose my inner tortured artist and resorted to poetry to express my emotions. I penned such ardor-stirring lines as “Minnesota has farmers, Tennessee has charmers” in reflection on this challenging change. But this melancholy soon passed. And what seemed to be such a hardship, and sacrifice as a nine-year old girl, became a great gift in my life.  



  1. I like how you inserted Nephi into your post. I would prefer that you mention the Book of Mormon by name, since if I wasn't a member of the church I wouldn't understand the reference to Nephi.

  2. fantastic entry! I loved the description, because I felt like i was on google maps with the "street view" on going through your neighborhood. It was nice to have your perspective of others, and then come to reflect on yourself. I too wrote about being like Nephi and wandering in our personal wildernesses. Its just what we have to do to become different people. The description of each character and house made this story really unique.

  3. I think that you have the description aspect of this assignment down. Each house and the people living inside had full, complete descriptions of who they were to you at that time. The thing that I think could use the most work is your inclusion of The Book of Mormon. If I wasn't LDS I would have no idea who Nephi was and how he relates to you. Once you add that in, I think that your essay will become even stronger!