Tasting Green Eggs and Ham

The first book I ever read was Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss. I was four years old, waiting in the lobby of the doctor’s office. Having finally exhausted my enthusiasm over colored blocks and Lego’s, I picked up the book and sat in my mother’s lap. She walked me through every word of every page, never rushing me along or losing patience. On that memorable occasion, two new concepts were introduced to me: the power of words, and the magic of teaching.

Throughout my school days, I continued to read ahead of my age. I was an accomplished Accelerated Reader, and by the fifth grade, I was on a ninth grade reading level. Unknown to my consciousness, my young mind was building vocabulary, analyzing characters, and exploring syntax. Dr. Seuss was still an admired author; he had introduced me to the flow of rhythm and the skill of rhyme.

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I soon began to mimic the styles of other cherished authors, allowing their influence to possess my pencil and reflect on my empty page. I have always wondered at that phenomenon, how one person’s ideas and identity can seep into another, forever changing the way they capture the world.

With my teacher’s endless support, I wrote my first memorable piece of work in the first grade. The one-page tale featured a greedy, grumpy leprechaun who only thought of gold. In the end, however, he slid and fell off a rainbow, bumping his head and changing his character into a nice, generous neighbor. My teacher took the simple essay to the principal, and I was ushered to read it aloud at the monthly “Tea Party” for parents and board members. As I shared my work, I had my first taste of what it means to own words.

Before that day, I had read, spoken, sung, and listened, but I never imagined that words could have tangible substance. They were just a combination of letters, free for everyone to use. Now they could be mine. Like useless facts and unapplied knowledge, words themselves are nothing; but I could give them a new and original meaning. Words, to my mind, became as amorphous and undefined as young children, just waiting to be molded.

Now that I am older, I am ready for the blank page that lies before me. I long to experience the beauty around me, to soak it in and cast it back on paper, to be as permanent as ink and literature. I want to inspire the intellects of future geniuses, to relish in their infinite potential. I want to be a memory that brings joy, hope, laughter, and substance, captured in a book and preserved in another person. This dream is what compels me to make writing and teaching my career. This is what moves me to attend an elite college, to receive my education at the best of institutions. My experiences, one could say, have propelled me to be not only a published author—but a published individual.

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