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Immersed in literature one word at a time

By Berit Ramstad Skoyles

As I become more of an adult with every passing day, the question of what I’m going to do with my life is ever present.

With many of my friends graduating and heading off to university next year, I have been asked about my plans for the future more times then I care to count.

When asked about my future, I usually avoid the question by saying that I have one more year of high school and I don’t need to figure it out quite yet. Although that is technically true, I can’t help but consider my many options.

My dream has always been to write a novel. That’s what I want to do; I want to entertain creative minds through the power of words. I want my name to be on the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list — and trust me, one day it will be.

Then I find myself thinking about logistics and reality. I know that I cannot just sit down and write a novel and expect it to be a best seller the next day. That sort of thing takes time, so I have broadened my horizons to find something to do to generate income while I write my novel.

I’ve thought about becoming a teacher. I was thinking that I could move to Chile to teach English to Chilean children, but the more that I think about it, I’m not sure if that is really what I want to do.

Of course it would be a fantastic experience, but I’m afraid that if I do that I’ll never come home. Even if I planned to only teach there for a couple of years, I don’t think I’d be able to just quit working there and come back to the States.

It’s always an option, but that path requires a bit more thought.

If I were to stay here and be a teacher, I want to be an English teacher. I want to help students find a passion in writing just like I have.

I imagine myself as that crazy teacher that jumps on tables just to prove a point or to instill in my students the importance of a particular rule of grammar. I want to be the teacher that students look up to — the one that inspires them to express themselves and fosters in them a love of language and expression.

My students will be allowed to write about whatever their heart desires. I won’t care what they write about, as long as they are expressing themselves freely and in a way that fits within the norms of grammar.

Grammar may not be “fun,” but it is important and should not be a chore. There must be a way to instill proper usage without inflicting too much pain.

I want ideas to be free. Ideas shouldn’t be suppressed or looked down upon, so in my class they won’t be. Young writers should not be subjected to arbitrary rules about subject matter.

Writing is a process, and young writers should be encouraged to write in the right way about whatever subject they choose to write about. It isn’t the subject that matters; we must learn how to write well and passionately.

Our content and “purposeful” writing should come after we learn how to write well and from the heart.

I want literature to be loved again. So many people today don’t read. They don’t read for purpose or recreation. It hurts me to think of what they are missing. There are so many great books out there that people pass by. I want to make them known again.

I know I still have time to figure it all out, but I can’t help but think of how wonderful it would be to surround myself with literature every single day. Whether I’ll be teaching it or writing it, I want to bring power to words and express my ideas to the outside world, and I want you, the reader, to read those ideas with joy and relish the wonder that words can bring.

Berit Ramstad Skoyles is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.

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