Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sharing our Humanity

The ten living Hart siblings

I first fell in love with personal essays when I read Tessa Santiago's "Take, Eat" essay for a creative writing class. I couldn't believe how perfectly she articulated some of my deepest, rawest feelings that I didn't even know how to explain to myself. Since then, I've been very open to personal essays because I understand that even the dullest of subjects can be made alive when we here the personal feelings and stories behind them.

When watching the introductions to the personal essays, the students had varying degrees of confidence and articulation. Some of the personal essays didn't seem as interesting as others might because their preview wasn't as polished. Other people had seemingly "deeper" issues they were dealing with. For example, an essay on being part of an abusive relationship seemed much more intriguing than some of the essays on serving full-time missions.

However, because of the good taste in my mouth regarding this genre I was able to see passed the imperfections of some student's stage presence or the seemingly less important topics. Even though I know hundreds of people serving a mission, I know that everyone's experience is unique and powerful, and so there essays would be as well. Perhaps if video introductions focused on the more unique parts of their essays, viewers would be more willing to give them a chance. That being said, I think it's hard to sum up raw feeling, so a video form may never be a perfect way to introduce a personal essay.

I enjoyed an essay entitled "Finding Sweet amongst Bitter" about a girl who was embarrassed over her large family. I am the youngest of 13 and I loved my family more than anything growing up. I was never embarrassed. Now that I'm older, I appreciate my family even more, but sometimes the improper comments of others make me a little embarrassed for a moment. And of course, that makes me feel ashamed because the TWELVE other siblings in my family, the TEN IN-LAWS, and the TWENTY-NINE grandkids are more important than one snobby comment. I appreciated sharing some common ground with a stranger through her personal essay.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this. I came forma family of five. Which yes many people would think that is alot but not really. But... my mother came from a family of 14! I love having so many cousins and family parties I wouldn't trade any moments with them even though I have too heard those same comments.

    I agree with hoe you said some of the authors didn't have polished previews of their essays and that subconsciously made me shy away from them. The authors who were confident and well presented in their videos attracted me more even if I couldn't relate to their topics as well. Thanks for your insight!