“The act of writing is an act of optimism. You would not take the trouble to do it if you felt it didn’t matter.”
Standardized testing has been around in the public school system for years. I remember when I was in elementary it was called the C.A.T. (no clue what it stood for, I can only assume A.T. stands for Aptitude Testing). As I grew a little older it became known as the T.A.A.S. test (again, no clue what it stood for) and nowadays it’s known as the T.A.K.S.
No matter what it is called, it’s essentially the same test and consists of different subject matter. We all know the basic reason for the test, basically a way for the state to judge how well children are doing in the school system. I have an opinion on standardized testing however, since that’s not actually what I’m writing about, I’ll just say, I think they should do away with it and let teachers teach the things that really matter. Anyways, the reason I bring this subject up is, no matter which version of the test they came out with, each one had a “Writing” section.
When I was young and naïve, I actually looked forward to the writing portion of the test. There was usually some prompt that came accompanied with a picture and asked you to describe the picture in detail and make up a story to go along with it. I remember one year the picture was of a pirate and we had to describe the pirate, give him a name, back story, and tell of a grand adventure that he went on. I always took great pride in these projects. While my peers around me were struggling with creating defined paragraphs, I was struggling with keeping the story within the two provided pages.
I guess by now it goes without saying that I found pleasure and a certain sense of accomplishment by the creation of some great story or poem. I wrote my first poem when I was in the 8th grade (my mom still has a framed copy of it on the wall in her guest bath). It was something about being alone and walking through a sandy beach and in the end the end the ocean turns out to be a field of bluebonnets. As silly as it sounds, that poem was actually my “revelation”. It was quickly scooped up by my teachers and placed in a writing contest where it faired quite well, gaining me several awards. It was then, that I realized that I really had something worth sharing with the rest of the world. It was also then that I began to understand myself and the way my emotions and brain worked.
Many of you, who know me, know that I’m not exactly the most vocal person in the world. I tend to fade into the background and quietly agree with my surroundings. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion about things, nor that I’m afraid to voice my opinion when I need to, I’m just the type of person that doesn’t speak if I have nothing to say.
I discovered that through writing, I could convey my emotions in a more logical and positive way. It amazed me (and still does) how easily I could put words together if I had a pen in my hand. I never really considered it to be any sort of talent, I just thought it was something that everyone had and never really gave it a whole lot of thought.
I went through a phase where everything that I wrote was morbid and depressing. I’m not really sure where that side of me came from; I was a pretty happy person growing up and never really had any hard times. Yeah I had a few issues to deal with here and there, I was made fun of for my weight and I lived with an alcoholic father but my mom was wonderful and did a great job of balancing things out for me. I’m sure at some point I had the “I hate everything about life” phase, I’m pretty sure just about everyone goes through that one whether they like to admit it or not, but for the most part, I had it pretty good and I was well aware of that.
I found that writing was the most efficient way to capture my thoughts and feelings before I forgot them. Just because I may not be openly outspoken about my opinions doesn’t mean that I don’t have them and as this project moves on, you are most likely to hear more and more about those opinions. I have found that I can be a little more….blunt when I have a pen or keyboard at my disposal.