"A picture is worth a thousand words" essay. Revised.





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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: November 2003 Archive: "A picture is worth a thousand words" essay. Revised.
By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 10:53 am: Edit

Would anyone care to read and lemme know what they think? I will edit yours if you edit mine, etc.

Again, the picture is of me at two years old, writing something and thinking.


Personal Statement… Stanford. Jenny Song


It may, at first, seem insignificant, as do all things of worldly value. A snapshot, a still image of a moment long-passed, waiting among the thousand which lie in photo albums or drawers. Another million are never captured. But this one…this one remembers me. It is no showpiece: the colors are not properly exposed and the somewhat androgynous child of two years is no beauty. For now, never mind the science and art of photography, the behavior of photons and the rules of design, which serve momentarily only to hinder the alchemy of the story embodied here. Think simply this time. This photograph is not material; it occupies no space. It’s vapor, a wish, a melange of childhood hope and obsession crossed with fate, if you can call it that, if you can believe destiny exists.

The paper beneath my small hand, mirrored here minus a lifetime, betrays what might have been dismissed as a picture. In reality the design is one among many dozen I would scribble in my young years, a language defined by the abstruse symbols of a toddler’s mind. They lay row on row, character after character in an alphabet only I could know. Perhaps they conveyed a story once, but I cannot remember now, can no longer decipher my own ‘words’. It is the price of my years, the apathy of teenhood, that these types of fancies have become obsolete. I am saddened, but this nostalgia is unreal. My memories are, in truth, subconsciously implanted by the words of my mother, who sifts through these pages in time and hands them to me as if they were my own. I remember that pencil in my hand, yet I do not - it’s impossible. Nobody remembers what he feels at that age. This photograph can be the only truthful memoir.

But I know it happened, this legend of mine. It must have. The countless pages of symbols my mother describes to me are elusive, but they cannot be invented. It’s too true a story, too like me, this need to communicate, to cleanse myself of my thoughts and to have them open on a page even if I do not have the words, to show the world: this is who I am. Do not forget me. Please, please, do not forget me.

My mother said, you have a talent for something, but she could not explain it. I sat and wrote and thought and wrote, captured in a dozen photographs, concentrated or perhaps worried in expression, each picture a tick on my timeline. I do not know when these encoded stories made their fatal close, but from their remains sprang new passion for words, real words now. (That is to say, recognized words.) But always, what is captured in this photograph, this foreshadow for a possible ending, is in part forever marked in me.


478 words.

By Yu_Xia (Yu_Xia) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 11:20 am: Edit

hehe, thats pretty deep, but whats the main point? maybe im just not awake yet, or you could explain it...ne way...the imagery in the beginning is nice;)

By Iamthewalrus (Iamthewalrus) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 11:34 am: Edit

yeah, your essay is nice and soft and fuzzy on the inside

sweet like scandy

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 11:38 am: Edit

oh, i'm supposed to talk about what this picture means to me. it represents many parts of me. my childhood, my passion for writing, my possible destiny. :)

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 03:17 pm: Edit

bump teehee

By Johnnyd (Johnnyd) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 04:28 pm: Edit

this essay is boring. as i was reading it, i said to myself, "i cant wait until this is over". spice it up a bit or just change it completely. it's way too annie dillard.

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 04:34 pm: Edit

Johnnyd: give me an example of what should I spice it up with? It's only supposed to describe what a picture means to me, i really don't know how exciting such an essay could get. lol.

By Perry (Perry) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 05:04 pm: Edit

Excellent essay. Vivid, descriptive, personal, evocative of time and place, passionate, very, very good.

By Perry (Perry) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 05:21 pm: Edit

Addendum:

What I particularly like about your essay is that you take a common place object -- a photograph of yourself long ago -- and turn into a nicely written personal vignette of remembrance.

A criticism, however. In the first paragraph you write: "This photograph is not material; it occupies no space." By nature, a photograph is a material object and does occupy space. But this is not your meaning is it? I gather that your intent here is to reference the "meaning" of the photograph or what it evokes in you, neither of which is material or occupies physical space. See if you can clarify this point.

By Jennyzsong (Jennyzsong) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 05:24 pm: Edit

thanks perry! i will fix that; you're right. :)


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