A Literate Journey

A Literate Journey

A Story by Herzeleid

My first essay for college. I got an A :)


We are exposed to literacy all through our lives. From the second we are born, we experience images, facial expressions, and spoken word. All of these things help mold our literacy in the early years of our life. In turn, these early years shape who we are, as a literate person, for the rest of our lives. Literacy is an extremely important thing. It is how we communicate to each other. It is how we express ideas, thoughts and emotions. How horrible would the world be without literacy?

I was exposed to literacy young. My mother put great emphasis on it as I was growing up. She even decided to teach me how to read before I entered my first year of school. I can remember sitting next to her on my bed, just before bed time. The soft glow of the lamp was beside us, illuminating all the words before me. My mother would always ask me to pick a book to read, and I, being a young child, always picked a Dr. Suess book. He was my absolute favorite. I can distinctly remember reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and Hop on Pop. I remember the colorful illustrations and the silly rhymes that always made me laugh no matter how many times I read them. I also remember stumbling over words, dreading what my mother would soon say. "Spell it!" I would sigh as I heard these distinct words and begin to begrudgingly recite the letters to her. Of course, next she would tell me to "sound it out". I would sigh, and then form each individual sound that the letters made, and I would repeat them over and over again until they all meshed into a word. Now, if there was a silent letter or some other rule I was unaware of, my mother would not hesitate to mention it. We did this routine every single night until I could read on my own without any help what-so-ever.

My mother molded me in the ways of writing as well. Whenever I had a writing assignment in my early years of school, my mother would always read over it and circle any misspellings. No matter how hard I begged her, she would not tell me how to spell them. She would just utter one simple phrase that would send shivers up my spine: "Go look it up". Oh, the humanity! I actually had to go use the dreaded dictionary! I had to search through page after page of meaningless words typed in the smallest font imaginable. Nothing could be more horrible. And of course, once I had found the correct spelling, my torment was not over. I would have to write each word I misspelled five times. I hated this routine sorely but it trained me to put emphasis on spelling and I have ever since.

Reading and writing were extremely important to me in my early years of life. I read a lot in my late elementary school years and early middle school years. I was interested in science fiction and fantasy. I would gobble up anything that could transport me to a far-off realm. I remember sitting in study center reading series such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia with great zeal. I remember fervently discussing key points in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with my middle school crush. I also began to read Michael Crichton obsessively. I would go to the library, check one of his books out, finish in two days at the maximum, return it and get a new one. I cannot tell you how many times I read Sphere and loved it more and more each time.

As much as I loved reading in middle school, my high school years led to a decline in reading. I stopped reading for pleasure altogether. Sometimes I would barely even read my assigned reading. I became fond of new forms of art such as music and graphic novels. I would spend hours reading graphic novels and dreaming of a day when I could illustrate. Then I was exposed to the band Rush via the radio. I was instantly hooked. No other band would ever be able to have the same sway over me and Rush did. I would spend the next four years of high school collecting all of their CDs, and fantasizing about seeing them in concert and meeting Geddy Lee. Rush did expose me to poetry, however, which I began to love. For a while, I had the goal of writing a poem a day, and I did it. I still write poetry from time to time, but art is my focus now.

My parents introduced me to some colorful forms of literacy. Some were constructive, and others, not so constructive. My mother introduced me to anime, which are Japanese cartoons. I began avidly watching “Dragonball Z” with her. This inspired me to draw my favorite characters and take up this style of drawing. It also inspired me to think about illustration, and really become focused on it. I had always been interested in art to some degree before this time, but when anime came into my life, I truly began to develop skills and art literacy that would form the artist I am today. Back then, to me, anime was just and easier way to draw things. I didn't have to draw them realistically. This was something I struggled with. I was in the fledgling stages of my development as an artist. As I grew, I began to draw things realistically more and more until I abandoned the Japanese style of illustration altogether. However, this style served as a gateway to my new skills and understanding as an artist. If I hadn't learned to become literate in the style of anime, I certainly wouldn't be the artist I am today.

My father introduced me to another form of literacy that wasn't so constructive. He introduced me to video gaming. He bought a Playstation when I was seven or eight, and it was kind of a surreal experience for me. I had wanted a console so bad, but I was always told it was too expensive. When I saw it in my dad's hands as he came through the door, you cannot imagine the excitement I had. I would play through games like Crash Bandicoot for hours and hours. I would learn to mash buttons with the best of them. My mother bought this Star Wars fighting game for my father for Christmas. We played that game for hours and hours! I would practice and practice my heart out, and my dad would always crush me. I remember being so aggravated and I remember his taunts towards me such as "You are not a Jedi yet." and "Mess with the best, you die like the rest." I remember the absolute rage I had towards him, and how much I wanted to completely "thomp" (as my dad would put it) him. I would have my revenge. I got older. Soon I had the first console I would have all to myself, the Playstation 2. That thing was my baby, and I would play it nonstop. I would get home from school, run upstairs, and plug that bad boy in. I remember getting various fighting games for it and challenging my dad. I would practice and practice and totally mop the floor with him. I would trash him without mercy and taunt him endlessly. When I saw him with the same frustration as I had, my thirst for revenge had been quenched. I would look at him with the ultimate satisfaction and say, "Now who's the master?"

My father would also expose me to a different kind of literacy. This literacy was also important, but it could be counterproductive. He introduced me to the wonderful thing known as the internet. I soon became involved in chat rooms and internet forums. These were all well and good, but I soon became enthralled with another form of entertainment that my dad showed me. This was also a form of game, but a unique kind, a kind that I would happily let suck years of my life away. These games were called Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games or MMORPG, for short. I was hooked. I played Dark Age of Camelot for two years. I learned all of the best spots. I learned the entire lingo. I learned how to raid. I learned how to "power-level". I learned how to "farm". But most importantly, I learned how to "pwn some noobs". Being literate in these games became very important to me. I have played most MMORPGs. I've played Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, Star Wars Galaxies, Final Fantasy XI, Shadowbane, Anarchy Online, World of Warcraft, and numerous others. They all had a strange allure to me. I loved the fact that you got to interact with players from all over the world. I loved that they each had their own lingo, and if someone wasn't into MMORPGs, they wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about. These attributes cause me to occasionally want to start playing again, even today.

My father also exposed me to computers and made me somewhat technologically literate. My father has worked with computers as long as I can remember. I can't remember a time when I wasn't using a computer built by him. My current computer was built by him and I wouldn't have it any other way. When I was younger and I was experiencing computer difficulties, I would always run to my father and beg for his assistance. In the beginning, he would fix my computer and send me about my business. As I got older, however, he would start asking me to help him fix my computer. Now, I can troubleshoot small problems on my own. Typically, I am the one who works on my computer unless it is a major problem. Daddy still has to step in here and there.

Literacy is truly an important thing to every being on this planet. It is how we communicate, learn, grow, and even entertain. I would like to think I am well educated in most forms of literacy, but the truth is I'm not. There are so many different forms of literacy throughout the world. One person cannot possible grasp all of them, but that is what makes our world so beautiful and unique.


© 2009 Herzeleid

Author's Note

I'd appreciate feedback but I already submitted this essay for a grade and received an A so I will not be making any changes to this.

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Added on February 20, 2009




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