For my project, I decided to do a photo essay. I thought this format was not only the most engaging but also the most applicable to my topic that I had chosen. This format communicates in the most direct way with my target audience by having visual cues that spark emotion and interest as well as writing to both clarify and further elaborate on specifics.
The audience that this photo essay targets is mostly my peers. This demographic is so crucial because we are the ones that need to be making changes in order to impact our future generations. I am hoping my photo essay can at least bring awareness to the problem and inspire people to look further into this topic that I find so interesting. Specifically, I chose to send my essay to another student that I know well. She is studying marketing which my topic is heavily revolved around. I am hoping my essay will influence the way she approaches this topic and whether or not she will agree or disagree with it.
When adjusting my essay, I found limiting my information while keeping the impact was the biggest task. I had to adjust the tone I used to avoid overflowing with facts and to instead, incorporate emotion. Focusing in on the marketing aspect of it gave the essay a focus and a clear message and I tried to present all sides of the story when creating it. I wanted people to know that they do have a choice and educate them about the leading factors that are detrimental to our environment.
Many people requested a follow up to the previous short story so here is what happened to Millie after discovering her father.
¨Dad?¨ Millie stuttered? As the dark figure approached, Millie looked left and right for help, all she could see was picture frames on the wall and the walls and the ceiling painted hospital white that slowly seemed to cave in on her. Looking through the door frame behind the man, Millie squinted to try and avoid the harsh line of light that was cast on her face. She thought she saw a boy crying for help, she certainly heard the screams. The boy wasn’t alone either, there were glimpses of the familiar face of Leo that appeared when the angles of the 3 men aligned just right. Except, Leo wasn’t screaming for help, no, he was smiling, he was laughing. Before Millie could utter another word, a cloth soaked in chloroform was pressed against her mouth and she collapsed in an instant. Waking up, Millie was more disoriented than she had been in the last 48 hours. The ground underneath her was hard and cold, and bars dug into her back and legs. She was trapped with another boy beside her, it had to be Red. The tall man approached, he slowly explained all he wanted was his custody, Red was her brother as well as Leo. The man said Millies mom had been poisoning her mind. Millie had no idea what was to come next but she knew nothing good could come.
Everyone has tried it at least once, from birthday parties to team bonding activities, to summer camps, there seems to be a route for everyone. Most people look at the wall and the brightly colored holds and look for the objective to strictly get the top. This is how I perceived this sport before immersing myself in the wonderfully painful and horribly addictive world of rock climbing. From the first time I stepped in the gym, I knew, this rush was going to be something I could never rid from my head, never let escape from my heart.
Trying out for a sport climbing team, for me someone who had never climbed before, I was intimidated surrounded by all the buff athletes with bruised toes and chalked up fingertips. They welcomed me with their sweaty arms and pushed me past boundaries I deemed possible right away, a more welcoming community than I have ever experienced before. After making the team, I was asked to perform a dyno, a move performed in bouldering where you jump on the rock, to another rock. With my coach below me I gazed up at the hold above me. It was a large grey jug with a large hole in the center, making it easy to grasp. The route was a V4, a grade I had been projecting for months. There was no direction but up so before psyching myself out, I took a leap of faith, I felt like I was flying. No ropes, no belayer, no gravity weighing me down, there was nothing but air under my feet as I flew upwards. I touched the hold. I felt its cool, ridged edges against my ripped up callused hands. And then I started to fall, it felt like a plane crash as it was happening and it felt like forever. I could only hope that the mat under me not turn to cement. I could only hope my coach was under me, ready to guide me back to safety. He wasn’t. My toes hit the side of the matt and I landed on the ball of my ankle, contorting my foot in a direction feet are not supposed to go. A pair of crutches and a sprained foot later, I was finally able to step foot in the gym again, many months later.
Rose, a third trimester pregnant mother is in a crumpled position on the floor in front of couch, crying. She wears a loose, white flowy dress. On the floor are a set of twins less than 2 years old. She looks up at her older husband through her tears. Dennis was a middle aged man dressed in a full suit. He is stern and his face is cold and apathetic as he watches his wife choke on her sobs. She crumples up the divorce paper and screams about her husband never going to see her children again. In a desperate attempt to regain custody, he grabs his two sons and runs, never to be seen again. Ten years later a a free spirited high schooler, Millie, and her mother, Rose, move to a new town which is heavily forested and is desperate for nothing more than acceptance. With the overly eccentric clothes made by herself and obnoxious positivity, the teen struggles to make friends. Because of the uptight and straight- edge nature of this community, her quirky personality traits do not go over well. The bullying never stopped, from the looks and whispers in the hall to even teachers snarky comments, there was no safe place for her to hide. Coming home was no better either. A permissive mother so absorbed in her meditation, she was practically absent left no support system. So, when the opportunity of a new friend named Leo decides to give Millie a chance, she jumps at the opportunity. Walking through the halls she was stopped by her new friend, in his hands an invitation he proudly hands to her. After many back and forths weighing the pros and cons, Millie took a stroke of confidence and decided to go. The hand crocheted lace dragging on the floor behind her felt foolish and was being destroyed by the gravel under her feet as she approached the party. Walking up to the house Millie stopped in hesitation. The music was loud enough to be heard blocks away and was a jumble of sound they wouldn’t dare touch back in Arizona. She continued forward, each step feeling heavier than the last and after an eternity, she entered the house. The strobe lights were overwhelming and streaks of purple and pink blinded her vision. After waking up in an empty bathroom, Millie was guided by Leo back to a less noisy house, little did she know her life was about to be changed forever. Looking through the crack in the door to the room across the hall, Millie saw a familiar face, but she could not pinpoint this stranger. Squinting harder, blurring the forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet, she was barely able to have the words escape her mouth. ¨Dad?¨ she stuttered.
Looking through all these posters, at first glance, they seemed shallow, artificial, like those cat posters on the wall that say “you can do it”. Words on a wall, printed in a curly font on a bright colorful background felt offensive, telling me how to write. Up to this point in this class, the idea of everyone’s writing and writing process being unique was so heavily enforced, it was striking to see general phrases that seemingly applied to all. Still sceptical, I carefully read each poster and admittedly not only did I resonate with a lot that was said, but the quotes I found to be the most true were reflected in my best work.
Specifically, the brainstorming quotes. Often times in my brainstorming process, it takes me hundreds of ideas to finally settle on an idea, but when that idea does come, it sticks. As I ponder this idea further, it transforms into something that I can be proud of and can’t wait to start on. The problem comes when I go to write it. Often times, expectations set too high inhibit creativity and leave you with a fear of the blank page. The fear that there is too much potential in a work you haven’t yet started and it will be wasted on an unsatisfactory page of nonsense. This mindset leads to a trap that makes progress impossible to execute, but you can’t edit a blank page. Words become tense, ideas trapped in a pen, refusing to come out because of their own insecurities. Everyone has a way that will work for them, though. For me, freewriting in the brainstorming process takes away the pressure and allows me to find moments of beauty in the chaos.
To many, this simple drumstick may not look like much, but it holds a world of memories and captivates my high school experience in one slab of smooth, crafted hickory wood. This one drumstick, cloaked in black electrical tape and shredded near the bead shaped me into the person I am today. It taught me patience, growth, and how to remember the past. It was only a few weeks into band camp, I had decided I was going to be a drummer. I received this set of sticks proudly and was told to show my skills. Except I had none, none at all. Expected to perform alongside people who had drummed for 8 years I crippled under the pressure. So I started. I practiced till the sticks blistered my hands and exhausted my wrists and then some until my hands were bloody and callused. Everyone thought I was going to quit, including me.
One day, all four of us snares were sitting in the choir room in a circle practicing “joy”. My captain would throw sticks at the wall and have me pick them up. It was “because i’m a freshman”. This day was no different, 4 days into our 12 hour day week, my captain lifted his drumstick to throw at the wall, this time he was going to make it bounce off 3 walls, he spoke. As the stick left his hand, it collided into the side of my head, crashing my brain into my skull and landing helpless on the floor. But the stick wasn’t the only thing that fell, my head dropped helplessly into my lap, in shock from the pain. Instantly the room was filled with regret, and then laughter. All four of us so sleep deprived from the previous 3 days couldn’t help but go hysterical.
Surely this is when I would quit, but 4 years later, I look back with fond memories. Today, I carry this set of drumsticks proudly, knowing it carries memories I will never forget, holding onto the lessons it taught me about perseverance, and knowing I carry a piece of him with every note I play.
Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes from simply observing and piecing together parts of our life and creating simplicity from the chaos, other times, it comes from writing about brussel sprouts 3 consecutive days in a row. Life imitates art, therefore, whether we have a choice in what we create is up for debate just as people’s opinion for brussel sprouts is up for debate.
My journal entries started nothing like I had expected, specific, uncomfortably personal, and too deep in thought considering the subject matter. But as I explored my writing, I found it wasn’t strange at all, every sentence followed a theme, every paragraph a structure, and every thought lay a cumulative out pour of ideas, conversations and inspiration I have collected over my lifespan that makes me who I am. I related to this vegetable and I think we can all learn a lot about ourselves from a couple minutes a day talking to organic objects.
Nobody is the best version of themselves when they wake up first thing in the morning. People often overlook brussel sprouts because of their sour smell and waxy exterior but I find that unfair. With a little seasoning and a quick saute, they become something amazing. Although the opposite is true as well; after sitting in a plastic bag for days in a row, when laziness corrupts your rotting leaves and breaks down to your firm, flavorless core, you waste your potential on self absorbed interests. You will not be enjoyed in a gourmet restaurant served alongside walnuts and cranberries tossed over a honey balsamic vinaigrette for $34.99 but rather withering away in the trash with the other discarded debris.
We all started simply as dust, birthed in the stars. One day, you might see how absolutely incredible it is that all matter, including you, is made up of energy, which is neither created nor destroyed and therefore passed through infinite stages of life. I hope one day, after you decompose you have the opportunity to become a part of someone’s journey and shape someone’s life. Maybe, one day, you will even be a part of a human, but not in this life, for you are a rotting vegetable.
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