Second semester of my freshman year of college, my philosophy professor told me during a conference that he could already tell by reading my essays that I have developed my own prose. He proceeded to tell me that most writers spend their entire lives writing, and working to develop their prose, even if they are doing it subliminally.
Being a freshman in college at the time, and hearing that from a professor I look up to immensely, made me step back and realize why it is exactly that I am an English major. Almost one year later, I am here to tell you why:
I am not an English major because my parents are paying for my college tuition, knowing I will be debt free after college and free to do whatever my little heart desires. I am not an English major because it is an easy way out of getting my bachelors degree. I am not an English major because I am unsure of where I want to go in my life, and English can pretty much get me anywhere. I am not an English major because someone told me to be one. And, I am most certainly not an English major for the sole fact that I love reading books and I love writing.
I am an English major because I am meant to be an English major.
I am an English major because every morning for as long as I can remember, I have been compelled to write. Every single morning I wake up with a strong desire to live, love, and experience everything I can experience within the span of hours that I am awake. When I witness things, experience things, love things, and do things, I am compelled to write these things down. Writing, for me, is not only about creating a world of memories, it is about creating a totally different world; a world which compensates for what the real world isn’t always giving me.
I am an English major because no matter what I am writing, I am writing every single day of my life. I am living in libraries and climbing up bookshelves and falling in love with every single new book I am able to get my hands (and eyes) on. There are words and stories and poems inside of all of us, some that paper can not even handle. Reading inspires writing, and out of the love I have for books, I am able to remake the world.
I am an English major because through writing, I am able to put stability in this shakable world, give the world order, and put a handle on everything I am experiencing, witnessing, and going through– so I am therefore better able to grasp it. Writing allows me to become more intimate with myself, and with others. Writing helps me learn from myself, discover myself, maintain myself, protect myself, and overall make myself. I write to demolish any demons that live inside me or myths that I am crazy, suffering, or simply an illusion. I write to convince my shadow that I am worth following, and convince myself that I everything I say is important.
I am an English major because I don’t want to live a life of comfort. Living a dull life does not ever satisfy my hunger or anger. Writing gives me freedom, danger, excitement, and greatness; purity and sin, happiness and sadness. Through writing, I am able to say what I need, and able to satisfy my needs. Writing allows me to make jumps and take chances. Writing helps me answer questions, about the world around me, and my life in it’s entirety.
I am an English major because literature is much more than an extra big book with some words I can’t understand. Literature is full of stories, adventures, hardships, and good times, all that make me a better reader, better understander, and better writer–by simply reading a few hundred pages. Literature takes me to a whole different world, a world different than the one I create for myself. Literature takes me to a world created by Homer in the 8th Century BC, or a world created by Sylvia Plath. Literature is an adventure, a treat, a blessing and a curse. A book is knowledge– and knowledge is power.
I am an English major because literature helps me understand myself, process my thoughts, and put them down on paper better. Literature brings me to places I haven’t seen, and allows me to experience things I may not otherwise ever experience. Most of the time, my thoughts and feelings seem to sound better in the books I didn’t write. Sometimes, it’s comforting to know that I am not alone, and I am not all-knowing– because no one really is.
I am an English major because I am scared of writing.
But more importantly, I am an English major because I am even more scared of not writing.