How I Write

I wrote this piece during my first semester in the Writing Minor. The objective of this assignment was to reflect on my personal goals as a writer, and  to provide greater perspective on what I would like to achieve as a writer in the Minor.

         I write because I have an intrinsic interest in wanting to step outside my natural thinking, and as Ibsen once said, truly and publicly “…sit in judgement on oneself” to consider if the lens that I look through at the world, is actually right. I want to engage with learning how cultural, political, and social messages have changed over time. As a writer I am looking to apply my interest in engaging with the world I live in, with the America I have grown to understand. My studies abroad in Asia and England assisted in aspects of my development as a journalist—specifically the ability to adapt to change. My fieldwork– the stories that I report and the interviews I have with people– demonstrates my ability to tell a narrative, to listen to people whose viewpoints are uniquely different from my own. I especially feel challenged to write about such experiences without inserting my opinion. It’s this challenge and the pressure to get a story right that excites me as a writer. In many ways this was and continues to be my mission as a writer— looking to understand and find relevancy in a conversation about what it means to belong in this nation.

While my motivation to write was initially pursued by the conceptual, wanting to examine the disconnectedness of the disenfranchised and left behind, the euphoria surrounding the 2008 election is an example of the question of what it means to belong to America, being an increasingly topical subject that received national attention.

As a journalist, I am interested in understanding the source of the social and financial experiences of Americans that frequently both the genius and paradox of American Democracy. My desire to write is inspired by the question of how/do I fit within The United States of America. This was a question that I felt inspired to consider during the 2008 Presidential Campaign, and continue to think about today.  I often wondered what role the national press corps had in making President Obama’s message widely understood by the American public. I am still concerned by the storylines that informed that were exposed by the political journalists during the campaign, most of whom connected local, regional problems to general national concerns. Finally, I write out of curiosity– I am curious to know the place that news reporting has in making American Democracy whole. My curiosity for this particular issue is shaped by this simple fact: The social engagement that the American public had with American politics, during the 2008 presidential campaign, created an upward scalar effect in political participation that was historical!

All these questions and more can only be answered if I experienced this type of movement as a writer witnessing this transformation.

I write, because I like the experience of acting on my inquiry. I am constantly thinking and acting on my desire to understand the human experience. Much of my writing is indeed guided by what George Orwell call’s “aesthetic enthusiasm.” I want to provide impact, give the stories that need to be told access to a wider public body politic and public discourse. My aim is for the seemingly insubordinate to engage and affirm their relevancy in both who and what is defined as being truly American.  Now I want to take it a step further, and learn how America is thinking digitally.

The 2008 campaign gave me the impetus to think more seriously about my own goals as an investigative journalist. Watching President Obama’s campaign collectively shift the attention from the politics of campaigning to explaining the promise of this this country was awe-inspiring, so much so I felt a curiosity to dig deeper and find out what exactly sparked such a emotive response given to the 2008 Obama Campaign, from not just me but from other people. More broadly, I am interested in exploring and gaining an understanding of the hidden opportunities that the campaign trail revealed itself to President Obama in 2008, a demonstration that created so much appeal and movement given for the message around change and hope that the definition and mere imagination of the American Dream began to widen. This movement was due largely to President Obama’s political agenda responding to the variation of the American experiences that he was given access to on the campaign trail. In commitment to this curiosity to have my questions answered of how The Obama Administration did such a thing, and how America is thinking, I want to evaluate these questions as a writer, and join the global conversation that concerns America’s image.

Years from now, I want my audience to source the debates or discussions that I started or continued as a writer as a determinant of the political, cultural, and social age in which I was living. While this desire is very Orwellian, so is my aspired legacy. Like Orwell, I want my pieces to be very timeless and classic reads, pushing “the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.”  Nevertheless, I also draw inspiration from syndicated blogger,  Andrew Sullivan.

In writing about the human condition that comes with Americanization, like Sullivan says, I  want my reader to “have the curious sense of moving backward in time as you move forward in pages.” As I piece together the  underlying identity of what it means to be an American, I want my readers to understand what I see when I read Sullivan’s blogs, which he self- describes as showing “the ways in which human beings order and tidy and construct the story of their lives.”


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