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A Cyclopedia of Composition I

Today is the last day of classes before the commencement of Fall Break, not a “high energy” day when it comes to lecturing or listening. In my two sections of Composition I, I defaulted to creative writing mode, and as a result I feel energized and refreshed even before my mini-vacation begins. What does creative writing have to do with academic writing? Everything, if you ask the poets of the world. We looked at examples of the braided essay form, chief among them the opening essay in Rebecca Solnit’s Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness. I instructed students to model the encyclopedic  form of the essay while also attempting to write an abecedarian essay (the forms are similar, except Solnit skips and repeats a few letters in her essay). The entrepreneurial spirit must be alive and well on this campus because not  a single freshman scoffed at my instructions in a manner that is not usual for a composition class at 8 a.m. I spent the afternoon condensing their entries into a single essay which I have titled “Cyclopedia of Composition I.” I selected one entry per student. Here is the result:

A Cyclopedia of Composition I

Athlete. Walking up to a pitch, an athlete must be able to tune out the world and focus  on the crucial game that could make or break a season.

Beautiful. I had a teacher say this all the time: Your body is a temple; treat it like one.

Being nineteen and in college and having a boyfriend is a little hard, especially when your boyfriend thinks you’re going to find someone else and just break up with him.

Belief. Believing in love is a true challenge. Through the hardships of what the world has endured some believe it is not really there. A boy once told me, “ Love is a myth, and the world is only going to get worse.” This idea seemed so foreign to me, because my whole life I’d been taught the human spirit is always stronger.

Brothers. My brothers are my entire world. In the room next to mine, I hear the loud giggles and arguments of my brothers. They are annoying, but always make me feel safe and secure.

Cheetah. The animal you want to be like when the gun goes off.

Countless times in my life I was reminded that graduating high school was important, although nobody in my family actually did. Dedicating myself to finish and to focus on breaking the concrete path wasn’t hard. That part was fairly easy.

Day.     Day in and day out, every day on the track, the team prepared for seasonal competition. I was very nervous. I was just coming back from injury and wasn’t sure I was ready.

Divine. Baseball is a game so fine, it is played on diamonds.

Dog.   Every dog we ever had ended up being sold or taken back due to problems in the house, but that trend stopped after my dog Frizzly.

Dogs. That’s what most of us are. We must be relentless when playing this sport.

Eventually I’d like to get married, have a couple of kids and a few pets.

Everyone needs a vacation from the sort of automatic things you do—Bill Murray

Everything changed over time and it all went so fast, almost like the big explosion you get when mixing nitric acid with hydrazine. Everything I had before had been destroyed in the explosion and out of the ashes came something new.

Fear. I wasn’t the best at flying. I could feel my heart attempt to jump out of my chest at the slightest turbulence.

Fire. I fell into the burning ring of fire. I went down, down, down, but the flames went higher. A little dramatic but the fires in California remind me of the Johnny Cash song about love.

Frankenstein. In baseball, just like the ball itself—always stitched up to make something unique.

Glory. The movie, Glory Road, is a true story about a college team called Texas Western Miners proving everyone wrong and pushing through race issues to win the national championship.

Gorgeous. When he walked up, I could see his grin build. A compliment was coming. He knew I looked confident in my apparel and he loved it. Gorgeous!

Greatness always seems to break through in this sport. I know for a fact that I have always dreamed and wished to make it to the highest level.

Image. Your image isn’t your character. Character is who you are as a person.

Instinct is a key in basketball that can unlock many doors.

Judge. Before you judge and start to stereotype me like the rest of the world, get to know me first. I am not a dumb jock.

Jump. People think that the higher you jump the better you are, but in reality playing hard and smart is what makes you good.

Killing the ball gives that person and the team so much energy. Nothing is more satisfying than a perfect pass, set, and kill.

Kinetic force is what you feel as you fly down the highway. You’re driving 120 mph and wonder how your car can manage to create this energy and how you’re going to stop.

Legs. Concentrated on my workout, I re-say a Bill May quote in my head: When your legs can’t win anymore, win with your heart.

Macarena. Many people who have heard the song Macarena, do not know that it is about a girl getting sexually assaulted. “Macarena was captured in the backyard” is clearly said in the part of the song where the listeners start to happily dance along to it.

Middle. My parents wanted to make sure that I would like what they called me, just in case I didn’t like my first name.

Music. All of the music we will listen to, but there is one song we both love and this makes it our song.

Nobody knows what is going through the pitcher’s mind, just like the U.S. trying to figure out North Korea.

Oh. Oh no I think to myself as I’m rounding third base. I can hear my mom yelling my middle name with joy. I think to myself that it sounds better when she’s not mad.

Pancake. No, not the ones we eat, but instead sticking your arm out, placing your hand flat like a pancake while diving to get the volleyball up.

Playing the game since I was six years old; here I am twelve years later.

Quote. Athletes lift weights. Cheerleaders lift athletes.

Rock. I got the rock in my hands/ there ain’t no tellin what im gonna do

with it/ when I got possession i’m gonna have to fool with it.

Rumble the Bison is an important animal when it comes to the Thunder and their mascot.

Schools. I knowingly went to these schools not because I was different or unpopular at my others. I did it for my dad.

Underestimating yourself is the other common thing when you start drawing and watch other beautiful artists.

Weird. The apples on the farthest branches struggle the most to hang on, and when they fall, they fall far. The apples closest to the stem have an easier life. When they fall it is close to the tree. That’s a look at today’s society.

Years. Very few people understand the years that players spend, time perfecting their game to just the right amount. You could even say that it’s an art that’s difficult to start up. I’d venture to say it’s as tough as learning to play the xylophone or playing on Xbox for the first time when you grew up playing PlayStation.

Zig-zagging through the defense for the game- winning touchdown.

Zig-zagging between ideas that you want to illustrate is really common.