One of the many essays that our class has read so far is the, “Essay” written by Daniel Coffeen. When my teacher assigned this essay for our class to read, I figured it would be “just another essay” to read and takes notes on. For me personally, it is quite difficult for me to read a novel, short story, essay, etc. and be genuinely interested throughout the entire thing. Sometimes when I read, I realize that I am not comprehending half of the stuff I am reading. This has become a growing problem for not just me, but a lot of other high school students. However, after reading this essay by Coffeen, it opened up my eyes to a whole new perspective about reading, writing, and how these two actions can intertwine to create something magical.
Nowadays, I feel like so many people, especially students, are too focused on making their writing formal and gramatically correct that eventually, their writing becomes repetitive and boring. Each essay ends up lacking a sense of personal thought and inviduality, thus hindering the audience’s ability to be interested. I am sure that several students try to play it say by writing about the same generic topic with the same plain writing structure. Who can blame them though? The education system has sort of molded our generation into thinking that we need to fit a “certain structure”. Because of this, students are so determined to get the maximum amount of points that they forget to remember that they are in school to learn and continuously strive to improve. Reading this essay gave me a deeper insight into why writing is not a boring task, but a wonderful way to express our thoughts or to get a glimpse into other people’s minds. This is where the rhetorical triangle fits into play: the writer, the audience, the message. How does these things correlate to each other?
Reading Coffeen’s essay reminded me that you can read something over and over again but still leave with something different in mind. Whatever the author’s intentions may be, their audience can look at their writing in a completely different perspective and therefore, it allows the audience to gain a different message from what was intended. Does the intentions of the author matter? I say no but people can choose to argue, which brings us to the rhetorical triangle. Everything is an argument. Can you argue with that? Yes.
When my teacher introduced the ‘zero draft’ to my class, I felt great comfort because it gave me the opportunity to let my raw thoughts pour onto paper. I was able to, “sit down before a blank screen and then learn into language to see how my thoughts will meet words and grammer. Which part of my thought will become the subject of the sentence? What actions will it take? And how will it do it all – emphatically”?” (Coffeen). I loved the idea that we as students had the chance to write about what we truly felt inside. My thoughts were running wild—I believe that being able to express our feelings and ideas onto paper is a better form of learning because it gives us the opportunity to revise and improve the way we structure our ideas. Writing down all of your thoughts onto paper may seem easy, but it isn’t. At first, it was an unfamiliar task since I am so used to responding to a specific prompt but I believe that if I continue to zero draft, I will flourish into a better writer.
I love how Coffeen’s essay provided us little yet significant details that helped me visualize what a great writer can, and should, do. He noted that, “as thoughts are distributed on and by the page, constellations crystallize and dissipate, sometimes simultaneously” (Coffeen). I find this act of writing absolutely magificent and brilliant. I strive to become the writer Coffeen described — one that is able to skillfully but naturally pour their feelings and thoughts onto paper with such easy grace.