Thursday, August 27, 2009

On Becoming a Writer, by Russell Baker

I have recently read Russell Baker's text titled "ON Becoming a Writer" in my college writing text book. Baker makes many good points and has great advice mixed into his amusing and informative writing. He starts the text with a back story of how when he was growing up he wanted to become a writer but the teachers in school made the task of writing almost like torture, which I certainly agree with from my own high school writing experiences. He goes on to explain how teachers in school don't allow for the writing experience to be fun and instead it is almost intended to be boring.
The main story told by Baker was about a writing assignment he was given in the 11th grade. He was given a list of topics, each one was followed by an even more boring topic. Like most high schoolers he procrastinated until the last minute and the night before the assignment was due he looked over the list of topics one last time and landed on the topic titled "The Art of Eating Spaghetti". As soon as he saw it, memories started coming back to him, "This title produced an extraordinary sequence of mental images.". Baker then feverishly began to write about the event of him and his family gathering around and eating spaghetti at his uncle Alan's house. He finally found a topic he was excited about and I believe the main point he was trying to make while writing this text was that as a writer you must write about a topic that brings joy to you, because if you have no interest in writing about the given topic your apathy will be reflected in the paper .
I could not agree with Baker more. He hit the nail on the head with this text, all through high school we were assigned a topic and were not allowed to choose our own or one that interested us and so the teacher was handed papers that had no heart and it was clear to see that the writer had no interest in it.

1 comment:

  1. Aaron,

    It is obvious you empathized with Baker's writing issues! I enjoyed your use of personal experience to support your argument that writers must be passionate about their topic. I would have liked to seen more textual examples to support this main point, but you included the most significant one in your middle paragraph - "... an extraordinary sequence of mental images."

    Let me know if you have any questions!