Nancy Summers - Writing I Stand Here

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I never really liked writing from personal experience because it always felt forced. I wasn’t thinking about it for myself, from a student writer’s perspective, but for the audience as well. But I took into account the fact that the audience for almost all student essays is going to be just one person who's going to tell me if I did it correctly, and percentage-wise just how correctly. Then I thought, ”How could I, or for that matter anyone, be personal incorrectly? How would one misuse their personality?” It may have been that I was defining the term personal to strictly refer to speaking of a past experience. That is a very glib interpretation of what it means to be personal, and I realize that now. It can be anything -- you can always introduce a personal element to all forms of writing, personal is just getting more honest and asking questions. I had commonly mistook "personal" writing as a sort of rehashing of an event in which I seem, or appear to seem, vulnerable. So I often found myself using my idea of it as a crutch. For example, most people are kind enough to always try to be sympathetic. So with that in mind, while seeming sympathetic, how would someone tell a student who appeared to have poured their heart out on an essay about the death of their beloved grandmother that they failed because their grammar is atrocious and their syntax is too elementary to properly channel sympathy through their writing. That was personal writing to me. But after writing numerous papers on my grandmother’s death and being dishonest in my writing, I can now honestly say that her passing has become less relevant every time I write a semi fictional story for a passing grade. I realized that each attempt to write a personal essay brought me farther away from anything truly personal and with that dishonesty it made personal situations less personal, and alienated myself from my

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