Thursday, February 7, 2013


The other day Marisa told me she liked my writing style. Now, I don't even know if I actually have a style. I also don't really ever write for fun. I like writing with a purpose because, as I told Marisa, so long as it fills that purpose, who cares if it is good. I mean something interesting is helpful, but it satisfies the needs, then whether or not it is eloquent is an after thought. 

I do have a couple things I have written. A few short blurbs I keep in the folder "wiring samples." I figure if it is labeled "writing samples" then the pieces serve another purpose, meaning they could potentially be sent to someone as a sample of my "style." If they have purpose, who cares if they are good right? 

Anyway, here are my samples. Unfinished, some untrue, ocassionally purposeful, and all chock-full of grammar errors. 
All anxiety provoking, because now they can be read by whoever reads my blog. (I am going to believe that is no one).

1. Inspired to Serve (2010) 

Macon, Georgia is my home; I’ve never lived anywhere else. Same street, same house, ever since my parents brought me home from the hospital. It’s an ugly house really, red brick, grey porch, green shutters, shielded from the street by clusters of pine trees. The yard is scattered with a combination of grass and tire marks from the cars. We always had a lot of cars at the house, people frequently commented that it was tacky, but to me it was normal. Each car had an owner, and every time I came home, I could tell exactly who was going to be inside based on the cars in the yard. There was always someone inside because my parents never turned anyone away. When my aunt and uncle got a divorce we welcomed in my cousins, and the living room became a bed room. When my cousin’s girlfriend needed a place to stay, there went the family room. My territory had begun to shrink. However, I would not have traded the close living quarters for the Biltmore Estate. When my cousins were invited to live with us, I may have lost rights to the living room T.V. but I gained two brothers. I was also shown true generosity at work. My parents never turned anyone away, even when there wasn’t much more than Ramen soup for dinner, they made sure everyone had a bowl. It is probably the most important thing that I have learned from them: give what you can. With this inspiration, community service has become a vital component in my life. I have learned that not only do you impact the lives of others when you serve your community, but you create a ripple effect inspiring others to do the same.

2. The ‘76 Olympics (2011) 

As each brother walked up, I sized up my competition, trying to mentally prepare myself for the challenges I knew were fast approaching.  I was ready. My team and I had thought long and hard about the challenge we would bring forth, and did everything we could to prepare ourselves for whatever obstacles they threw our way.  Today, we had a name to represent, because today we were not simply brothers of Alpha Phi Omega, we were brothers of the Mu Mu chapter, and today was the ’76 Olympics.
This past November some of the brothers of section 76 participated in the inaugural ’76 Olympics.  While the competition was not nearly as fierce as I described, if you replace the perceived intensity with fellowship and friendly competition then you might understand our experience. Three chapters were represented and ready to compete, Delta Kappa from Emory University, Gamma Zeta from Georgia Tech, and my chapter, Mu Mu from Oglethorpe University. Each chapter came prepared with games in which we would compete and a team ready to honor their home chapter.
Mu Mu was first up. Our supplies were simple; we had a tug-of-war rope and a strategy: lean back, pull hard. This proved effective when the girls from all 3 chapters took on (and beat) all the boys. Gamma Zeta’s game, unstable isotope, tested our team work. In this game each team had to successfully lift a coffee can with only string and a rubber band. Daunting as the task may have seemed, teamwork is something the brothers know well, and each team was successful. Following a quick game of Taboo and a snack break, we were ready for Delta Kappa’s Ultimate Frisbee challenge. Each team sent in their best players, while the other brothers cheered them on in the sidelines.
Ultimately, it was the brothers of Delta Kappa who won the honor (and bragging rights) to be the champions of the premiere ’76 Olympics. At the end of the day, we joined hands in fellowship and each added our own chapter’s twist to the toast song. Through the Olympics, we embodied the cardinal principle of friendship and decided that the ’76 Olympics is a tradition we want to keep.

3. Skylight (2012) 

There is a giant whole in the ceiling, just above where my bed used to be. I remember when the leak first started, we pushed my bed to the other wall, and continued on with our lives. You see my parents never were a “fix it and forget it” type of people, they had more of a “cover it up and ignore it” mindset. A mindset resulting from a one-income household with about 4-too-many mouths to feed. My parents always made it work though. In my house, you learned to really evaluate when you actually needed something, or when you just wanted it. When the leak got so bad and the ceiling fell through in my room, you would think we needed to fix it. But, with a couch for my sister and me up studying in Atlanta, closing our bedroom door satisfied their mindset. When I came home from college, a matress on the floor adjacent to my sister’s couch turned the living room into mine and my sister’s new bedroom. While it did not have the same skyblue walls or privacy of our previous bedroom, it also did not come with its own unintended skylight.
I remember one break back a home, the heat had gone out. Being between paychecks and with a stack of medical bills to worry about, a space heater was set up in the living room. With my matress on the floor, making it the closest seating area to the space heater, I got a pretty sweet end of the deal. Perspective right? 

4. Anxiety (2013) even informally writing on my blog, I always write about anxiety...I think because it is such a strong feeling....anyway: 

I feel like at any minute I won’t be able to breathe anymore. My breaths are gradually working their way up my chest, losing their grip on the bottom of my lungs. The depth usually characteristic of breathing is gradually slipping away. I try to take in long, drawn out breaths, inhaling and holding it in searching for a very different kind of high, but a calming one none-the less. The air pools in the top of my lungs, spilling over into my stomach, but never quite making it back to the bottom of my chest.
My heart is equally uncontrollable. While my breath is shallow and soft, my heart is strong, throwing itself against my ribs. It is not fast, but it is persistent. The pulse in my wrist, knock on my chest and ring in my ears won’t let me forget that it is there. Maybe it is reacting to my general passive acknowledgement of it, the underappreciated organ which is keeping me alive. I have even less control over my heart that my breaths. I want to be unaware of the beat, but the more I try not to notice, the more apparent and debilitating the sensation becomes.
When my heart and lungs decide to rebel, my eyes generally follow suit, swelling and over flowing.
At that point, if I decide to open my mouth and address the issue, I begin to slip. I visit each sensation again and again as I make my way through the rungs of the downward spiral I am on. I spin and spin into exhaustion and sleep. Eventually I wake up into a tomorrow that, even when seen through swollen eyes, is significantly brighter than the day before.
Anxiety generally gets the best of me. I allow myself to slip on something despite the friction I have created. I think that is when it is the hardest. You create something you think it stable, reinforcements and traction. When you inevitably find a spot where the grooves don’t meet and you lose your balance, it hard to not just let go. Sometimes it is the other way around. You polish things until they shine and everything looks new and perfect, but that is when it is easiest to slip, one surface too slick and down you go.
It is important but difficult to remember that when your heart is so apparent and your breaths so quick, what matters is that you are breathing. Your heart may be loud, but it is going. As uncomfortable as anxiety is, it is a propelling force. Nothing initiates motion like the fear of what will happen if you remain stagnant. Similarly, nothing holds back harm as firmly as the anxiety of letting it in. Maybe anxiety is not as tough as it seems, and maybe that is enough to calm my nerves. 

And those are my samples.