Saturday, 1 March 2008

Russel Baker's On Becoming a Writer

Title of article: On becoming a Writer
Author: Russell Baker
Publisher/Date of magazine: 2003
Date the article was written: Unknown

I would like to comment on the article written by Russell Baker. The article said that when he was still a boy, the only thing that really interested him was writing. Even so, the idea was not very firm in his head as he found many unattractive sides of the English language. Grammar was boring, writing compositions turned out to be chores and classics were 'as deadening as chloroform'.

Then, one eventful day during his third-year English, he was required to write another one of those essays that he thought were 'hard labour'. However, when he looked down the list of topics, he saw one that really interested him, "The Art of Eating Spaghetti". It brought back reminisces of his family eating spaghetti together. Therefore, he wrote his essay based on this memory and handed it in to Mr Fleagle, his 'prim' English teacher.

As everyone might be already suspecting by now, his essay was hand-picked by Mr Fleagle to be read to the class. This incident fueled his interest in writing and he sought to become a writer, even though he was also quite sure that writing could not lead him to a job after high school.

Being a student in high school myself, I was quite intrigued when I read this essay. The story led me to realise that little things in life can make quite a big difference. For Russell Baker, it was the decision of a teacher to praise his writing that eventually morphed him into the writer that he is today. For us, it might be other insignificant events that happen in life, but it might change the person that we are going to become one day.

Another important issue that Russell Baker reiterated in his essay is that he thought writing could not lead him to a job after high school. This point led me thinking about the kind of life and job that I would live in after my own schooldays. For me, it might not be that hot at hands as I still have quite a bit of education left, but it will come one day. Russell Baker thought that he could not earn a living as a writer but still, he is one of the most renowned writers of today. Therefore, if I pursue my own interests, who knows if I can live by it or not? After all, times are changing and new jobs opportunities pop up everyday.

That's about it for my reflection. Lastly, I would like to comment on the fact that the article was quite well-written despite being non-fiction. It's not really that humorous, but it puts a smile to the lips to whoever reads it. I think it is due to the fact that he uses lively, appropriate words at the appropriate times. I will never be as good in writing, but I think that every person has different aims in life.

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