I rode horses for seven years. The process for learning how to ride is slow and most often in the early months when I was learning, my horse and I were attached to the instructor by a lead rope. The better I got at horse back riding, the less I needed to use the lead rope. When I was off of the lead rope, I felt like I could do anything. I was free to gallop wherever I wanted and simply let my thoughts wonder. Every time that I got on the horse the experience was different, and I let it take me where it wanted to go, kind of like writing. At first the writing process is slow, but when you start to learn it your opportunities for discovery are limitless.
When I was younger, I loved writing. I wrote creative stories in my free time and dreamed that one day I would be a famous, well-known author living in riches. I was in elementary school. I had hopes and dreams.
In fifth grade, I broke my arm and had to wear a cast for half a year. When I was horseback riding during this time I was put back on the lead rope. I was bored, and I felt like nobody understood just how free I had become. By putting me back on the lead rope I felt as though my freedom was taken away, just as a “precautionary measure”. I hated it. I was succumbed to ride on somebody else’s terms, so that I could satisfy their ideas. That is how I feel about my writing now. I was free, and then I was taught the five paragraph essay format and I have been stuck on this lead rope ever since.
It was in middle school when my writing was required to be more structured. I was no longer able to write fairy tales, but I had to write on subjects such as Rome, or even more popular, education. In the beginning I was allowed to write creatively about topics, such as my paper on the history of Rome, but from the viewpoint of a lost traveler. I was in 6th grade and exploring my new writing limitations. Then came 7th grade, when the idea of essays that followed a format came along. Whoa! Writing with organization. At first it did not bother me, but after a few years of following the same exact process, every single time that I wrote a paper, I was burned out. I accepted the fact that I may never have the possibility to write freely again. I felt poisoned by the five-paragraph essay.
My junior year of high school, I had the chance to write about activities like to do. The structure of the paper was supposed to be a more creative form, nearly poetic. At one point in my life, writing about my passions would have been easy, but it was impossible to think about how to write “creatively” without the idea of a five-paragraph essay nagging at the back of my mind.
Now I am a freshman in college, and my only desire is to learn how to write a real, intellectually thought out paper. I want to be able to incorporate my own ideas into a paper, and take it where I want it to go, not where my thesis statement tells you my paper is going to go. I am a freshman in college, but instead of feeling invigorated by this statement, I feel lost, and tied down, like a horse back rider attached to a lead rope.
Writing in college is going to be much more than writing an agonizing five-paragraph essay. I should feel freed by this, but after my mind was reconstructed to write in this robot-like format, I realize that I do not know how to write any other way. This is why I chose to compare my essay to horse back riding. Horse back riding and writing are both near and dear to my heart, but when limits were put on how far I could go or how much I could write, I lost my passion for these two activities. I am hoping that in this Writing 100 class, I will once again find my lead rope, and detach myself from the lead rope that has held me back for the past seven years.