Books and Baseball Uniforms

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An introduction to my portfolio.  Document with all requirements listed can be found here: 

List of Portfolio Requirements

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I used to chew on books.  I was two, and two year-olds are wont to do such things, but still, I just couldn’t get enough of those things.  Apparently cardboard has some decent

Image Credit: ecodevoevo.blogspot.com

flavor.  My parents didn’t see the humor in the situation, and probably also didn’t want to raise a kid who, well, was a book-eater.  So they decided to punish me by taking away my books.

“Stephen, you need to stop chewing on books!  We’re going to have to take them all away!”

“That’s okay mommy, just don’t take away my baseball uniform!”

See, I wore that baseball uniform all the time.  Pretty much every day.  Occasionally it would get a break so I could give my baseball shirt (notice it wasn’t a uniform) a little bit of face time, but outside of that, it was baseball uniform all day.  So, when I proclaimed my excitement that my parents were only taking away my books, that was the end of my baseball uniform.  It was gone.  I was not a smart child.

But I never chewed books again.

Still, I like to think that my brief but illustrious career in book munching was the precursor to my similarly illustrious writing career.  I spent a lot of time intimately close to a lot of great writing.  Probably ingested more than a few words.  Today, I don’t ingest the words, but instead throw them on a page and call it “writing.”

This portfolio is a collection of that “writing.”  It begins with an essay I wrote before my freshman year in college.  The goal was to prove myself a writer worthy of college writing class, and it certainly worked for that purpose, although I’m not sure it serves any other.  Following the typical style of a high school essay, I read an article and then wrote some things about it with a nice little introduction and conclusion sandwiching my ideas (remember the sandwich model for essays?).

My writing career didn’t necessarily take off from here, but I certainly grew as a writer, experimenting with writing styles and topics.  My personal reflection tab is perhaps the best example of this versatility, as, compared to my previous technical writing, this writing does not focus on an article I just read or have a clear introduction, evidence, and conclusion.  Instead, it attempts to make a point about life through my personal experience.  Sure, I may draw on some outside sources for this material, but my experience drives my essays forward and ultimately provide the evidence necessary for a comment on life.

These personal essays are not only different from the other writing you’ll find in this portfolio, but they also presented a different kind of challenge than the other writing.  Surprisingly, using your own experience as the backbone of an entire commentary on a subject is hard.  I never thought my life experiences were interesting, or provided anything that a reader might fight profound.

Then I started writing about my personal experience a little bit.  And I read other personal essays.  And I realized that my personal experience is the only reason my writing might be interesting at all.  Hundreds of writers before me have combed over every possible topic.  So when I hop on the internet, grab a few quotes from a few important people, and then throw them in between a few empty words, I’m not adding anything new to the world.  I’m just doing it all over again.  That’s a little boring.  Gradually, I grew to like the idea of putting my own experience in my essay.  It made me unique.  Made my writing different.  I liked that.

I grew as a writer through my personal reflection, but the rest of my portfolio is really the expression of who I am.  The story of books and baseball uniforms isn’t just a cute story from my childhood (although I was a very cute child).  It’s a representation of who I’ve become: someone who loves learning and loves sports.  Other tabs in this portfolio offer varied sports writing and statistical research articles (I have an academic minor in statistics), culminating in one final section with an article on baseball statistics.  This final article is not only an indication of my passions (I could talk about baseball statistics for hours), but also a representation of how my writing has grown.  From that freshman who wrote a form essay to prove he could write at a college level to the writer now who has his own voice and style, my writing is certainly different.  I believe it’s better, but that’s not for me to decide.

My writing isn’t for me.  It’s for you.  Start here:

DSP Essay

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