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Reading early in my life wasn’t something I really enjoyed doing, or I didn’t think it was
cool because my other friends didn’t do it. I don’t remember picking up my first book, all I do
remember is the consistent storytelling that I thought was fiction, but soon realized that the
stories my mother was telling me were from the Bible. As I started to grow up and mature more
my mother told me that everything I need to know or want to know is all in one book called the
“Bible”. It didn’t seem appealing at first because if anyone has seen a Bible that book is huge,
and had too many pages 8 year old me was probably thinking. Reading has always been by my
side growing up, that I’ve enjoyed to learn new concepts and ways to think about life. The
presence of my mother growing up, and how she helped me interpret some readings made me
realize I needed to keep reading to know more, and eventually write about these concepts to
understand them better.
A moment that I share with my mother growing up was when I was about 10 years old
and I was getting into a lot of trouble and was going towards the wrong path. I continually was
lying to my parents and I was doing bad things with my friends such as stealing and being mean
to others; but I wanted to change. I then spoke to my mother how I wanted to change, and she
told me “ Are you reading the the Bible like I told you”, and I responded “No”. She wanted to
help me but also wanted me to figure it out on my own and she told me to read Ezekiel chapter
36. This chapter was called regeneration of the land, and I have read the chapter before but I
didn’t apply it to myself and I was only looking at it from one stand point. That standpoint was
someone you was doing such bad things, and needed guidance, it didn’t apply to me then but it
applies to me now. The verse that stuck with me was “I will give you a new heart, and a new
spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart
of flesh”. Now this verse at that time applied to me, and it had a different meaning to me then it
did the first time I read it. This is when I fully gave myself up to Christ, that he will help me, and
change my spirit to look at the world differently and help me act differently for the greater good.
Reading the Bible with my mother helping me, has helped me not just spiritually but realize and
understand better ideas about life and learning new lessons. How I should be presenting myself
and living my life away while following Christ, and not following the norm society portrays as
“Okay”, this is what my type of reading entails as I was growing up.
For instance storytelling is close to reading and some people tend to rely on just reading
one thing and believing that assertion, and that there’s no other side to it. In the Ted Talk by
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called “ The danger of a single story” she explains that concept of
people continuously believing a single story. Adichie’s main argument I believe was don’t
always depend on a single story, because you’re not informed enough on the situation or a group
of people to make a judgment on just one assertion. She then explains how she was caught up
believing in a single story she states “There were endless stories of Mexicans as people who
were fleecing the healthcare system, sneaking across the border, being arrested at the border, that
sort of thing”(Adichie). She then visited Mexico and realized it was nothing like that she
remembers “watching the people going to work, rolling up tortillas in the marketplace, smoking,
and laughing” (Adichie). She was believing a single story until she actually was there to live it
and see it, just as I did when I was going through hard times then that bible verse related to me.
Adichie is right she was so caught up in some media outlets she read about and bought in on the
theory of how immigration became synonymous with Mexicans. It wasn’t until she actually
experienced going to Mexico and realizing that isn’t the case. I learned form her to not judge and
assume just from a single story because that also comes from how “ Power is the ability not just
to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person”(Adichie).
She explains single stories are dependent on power and I’ve learned from her to not buy into that
when reading and writing. To fully understand maybe the people, culture or the situation to
truthfully know what’s going on.
Writing in prose has shaped a lot of memoirs to what they truly are, and shows the nitty
gritty of an experience. For the short story “There’s No Recipe For Growing Up” by Scaachi
Koul she talks about the relationship she has with her mother and her desire to learn her mothers
cooking recipes. The main argument Koul is trying to show is that you will always need your
mother in your life no matter what it is, she will continuously help you learn and master new
techniques. Koul writes her short essay as a memoir and I really enjoyed reading it, because it
shows the truthfulness in her story. For instance when she states “I started cooking this past
Sunday around 3:30 p.m., peeling the potatoes and cutting the cauliflower into florets and quietly
muttered “son of a bitch” when I realized I had forgotten to buy rosewater”( Koul). She explains
her situation specifically and gives us an image what she’s doing and that’s something I really
enjoyed while reading her memoir. She’s also very humorous throughout her story like when she
stated those cuss words, it gives us an idea of what kind of person she is and how determined she
is to get the recipe right. I’ve learned from her memoir to be very specific when writing because
it helps the reader understand clearly and are able to picture it easily. Koul had great strategies
but also some of her prose seemed a little too casual and that’s what I didn’t like about reading it.
I felt it was something I could write even though she is an amazing writer at telling her story, I
would just try to be more formal but I’ve learned how to authentically write a memoir from Koul
for the future.
Reading and writing poems with many benefits, and for me it was I always able to learn
new ideas and concepts to better myself in life. It’s different for everyone though they have
different outcomes when reading, also when trying to figure out the meaning behind a story. We
tend to only believe a single story but should look at the story from all aspects to full understand
what the story is trying to convey. Also when writing a memoir how specific one needs to be to
gain the audience’s attention but most importantly paint an image for them. You’re able to
understand more about yourself but also improve different techniques and strategies that help
you understand a reading or even become a better writer.
1. Chimamanda Ngozi, Adichie. “There danger of a single story” TEDGlobal, July 2009.
2. “There’s No Recipe For Growing Up.” Scaachi Koul, Aimee Bee Brooks for BuzzFeed News,
November 2, 2016, at 9:53 a.m.
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