|The twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower illuminate the surrounding park for 15 minutes each night.|
On my second night in Paris in May, we visited the Eiffel Tower. We arrived when the sun was still bright and rode the elevator to the top to take pictures as the sun set over the city. By the time we descended, the sky was dark. On the way down, we stopped briefly on the second level to watch a video; after the presentation, we planned to ride the elevator to the bottom. The elevators were running extremely slowly, however, which posed a significant problem. The Eiffel Tower has a twinkling light show every night. Because of the cost of electricity, though, the city can only afford to have the lights twinkle for five minutes at 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight. We were cutting it close by riding the elevator down as 11 p.m. neared, and because of the elevators’ slow pace and long lines, we worried we wouldn’t make it to the bottom in time. So several of us chose the path less traveled: we ran down the stairs in the leg of the Eiffel Tower. I have never run so fast or down so many stairs, and we truly felt we were cheating time. It paid off. We made it down the stairs and out to the garden just in time to see the lights begin to twinkle.
This semester has been quite a journey. I have learned much about myself, from future dreams to my growing skills in Microsoft Publisher for my internship. I especially feel that I have taken ownership of and have a better grasp on my writing – my art form. One of my goals, for instance, was to work on making my writing more concise, and I feel as though the blog posts have helped me achieve that; I realize now that not everything I write needs to be (or should be) book-length. Additionally, I have worked to develop my own style of writing feature pieces, which involves combining the reporting of journalism with the style of creative writing. Though I may not have perfectly achieved this with every piece, my awareness of this style alone is an accomplishment. I will certainly have to work to perfect this style in the future.
I have also learned from others this semester, primarily through the readings we did for the blog posts. The observations and details provided by many of the authors have inspired me to be more observant when conducting interviews and research for a piece; then I need to be more descriptive when I write. Tom Junod’s “Can You Say… Hero?” particularly affected me. I feel that Junod not wrote a touching, memorable piece, but he also challenged me as a writer to be more descriptive and to write equally moving stories.
I attempted this with my last piece of the semester. My final story relates my struggle with a loved one’s eating disorder and the methods – good and bad – by which I reacted to it. This was the most frank and open story I have ever written, and it demanded a lot of strength, energy and tears. Ultimately, I am somewhat surprised that I was able to accomplish it. More than that, though, I am proud that I finally put those words out there in a way that, hopefully, touch some people’s lives.
Much like my dash to the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, my writing process has been exhausting as the semester has advanced. The effort required paid off, though. When I finally reached the bottom, turning in that final story, I was been able to sit, relax and enjoy the show.
But I have to admit – the journey was half the fun and 95 percent of the memories.