22 August 2011

the plight of the trite

I've been working on my college application, and I had to write a college essay for AP lit so that she could critique them and such. And it's hard to be original when everything is so trite.
You've got your I-went-to-Africa-on-a-mission-trip-and-I-saved-the-world essay, filled with sentimentality and poignant stories of heroism. Another variant is the I-went-to-Ecuador-and-built-wells-for-impoverished-villages story.
You've also got the I'm-the-reason-we-won-the-state-championship essay, complete with inspirational, determined prose that moves the reader to tears.
And we can't forget about playing the Being-president-of-seven-clubs-taught-me-leadership-skills-and-helped-me-build-everylasting-friendships card.
I don't want to knock these things, because they are all great. Just trite. So I tried not to be trite when writing mine. In fact, I chose a topic so banal and boring that it is often overlooked.
I wrote about Costa Rica, but I didn't. I wrote about communication and words. After all, we do it everyday. In all sorts of ways. But it seems that the most prevalent are words.
Words are direct. They are easy to understand because they are like a code we have etched into the DNA of humanity. But that doesn't mean there aren't other ways. I told my story through dialogue between me and a boy named Antonio, a ten-year-old from Costa Rica.
And I think that what I wrote wasn't just an essay, it was a tribute to society. We can communicate in all different ways. We just haven't figured out how to do it yet. We haven't used all of our brain power, but we don't have a rule stating we can't.
Have you ever tried to communicate to someone without using words, or mouthing them, or even writing? Probably not. And I hadn't until then. Trying to talk without talking is hard. But we can still do it, it just requires practice.
Just imagine if we weren't given voices.

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