So, question, when somebody asks you what kind of stuff do you write, but you write a little bit of everything, how do you respond?
Well I said that I write a mixture of YA and middle school lit. But NO, that’s wasn’t specific enough.
WELL HOW ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO ANSWER?!
Anyways, for an assignment for American Lit this week, I was supposed to write an essay. Which is kind of obvious. But you were supposed to imagine you were living in the 1800’s, and you live in the East, but economic opportunities are failing. Fast. So you decide to move out West to try your luck. So then, you were supposed to write an essay on whether you’d be a miner, a cowboy, or a farmer, and the pros and cons. Now I don’t mind writing essay’s for history. If I had to pick to write an essay for history or literature, I’d pick history, just because I think it’s more fun to write about events then a dead authors thoughts on his own poem (I mean really. Does a rose NEED to be a symbol of something? Can’t it just be a rose?).
My teacher hasn’t graded it yet, but I am SO PROUD OF THIS (mostly because it was SO MUCH fun to write), so I’m going to post it on here.
Keeping in mind that I thought writing an essay would be too boring, so I wrote it in the form of a letter.
NOTE BEFORE YOU START READING THIS: Okay, I realize that parts and pieces of this would be unrealistic. And maybe that some of the words I used weren’t invented yet, I don’t really know. Just please don’t comment on how REALLY unrealistic according to this link and this link and this article and this tumblr post. Seriously. I appreciate feedback and all…but yeah.
By the time this letter will have gotten to you, I will already be on a train and well into the Western country. Even in this age of transportation, mail is still too slow for this to reach you in time. Maybe that’s a good thing, because if the trains were any faster, you might’ve written letter upon letter trying to convince me to choose otherwise. I assure you, mother, that I have thought long and hard about this. I have considered the dangers, the opportunities, and I’ve even considered all possible alternatives.
But I have decided to go West, and try my luck as a cowboy.
Yes, I can picture your initial shock as you run outside to wave down my older brother, who’s probably working in the fields. You’ll run up to him, near tears, and you’ll hand him this letter. He’ll smile grimly, because he knows that I was exactly right in my description, but don’t worry mother. If it doesn’t work out the way I’ve planned, I’ll go and try something else.
By now, you’re probably sitting inside in a stony silence while my brother reads this to you in a chair opposite of yours. So maybe, I should be writing to my brother instead. It’s just as well to address you both. Maybe I should try and convince you that I’ve chosen in the right? I can hear mother’s strained laugh as you finish reading that sentence to her, brother, but I shall try my best to convince you not to send a mob with flaming torches after me anyways.
I’ve found a job working for a man named Mr. Smithens. From what I can tell by his letters, which you can only imagine is so much, he’s a good and honest man. I can only hope that my luck is so good, but I shall wish for the best. He’s written to me that my job will be to drive his cattle from Kansas, and towards Texas, where the cattle will be shipped to the East. By now, mother, you’re probably cursing the day of the Louisiana Purchase. Nevertheless, I shall go on to tell you that I’ll be earning some good money in this field. As always, I’ll send part of my income to support you. You’ll probably curse the money also, but I imagine that you’ll fine something to use it for. I should be driving cattle about a solid 13 miles a day, and all from horseback. Growing up on a farm has had it’s perks, even after becoming a scholar. I’ll also have plenty of months out of the year to come visit you, since I’ll only be working for a good half a year. Maybe I’ll still be able to teach in the East after all.
After telling my friend, Mr. Manthel, of my intentions, he did warn me of all the dangers of becoming a cowboy, so you mustn’t feel any need to scold me mother. There will be plenty of storms, and plenty of runs to catch up with the frightened cattle. My horse might trip, and I’d be crushed under a writhing mass of legs. I might lose the cattle completely, and find myself devoid of all pay. I might be overcome by Indians or robbers…ah, but no need to frighten you more then you already are. You’re probably already stark white anyways.
But, I feel obligated to give you a reason for my choice. After all, you knew what a determined scholar I was when I left you and my brother to go East. Well mother, economic opportunity here is failing fast. What with these new things going on, money has been scarce for months. After taking weeks off of studies and teaching to look for a new occupation, my money has nearly run out. I should only have a few dollars left after buying a train ticket. And, to tell you the full and honest truth, sitting in a classroom for hours at a time has made me restless. I’m ready for adventure. Being a farmer in the West is too unstable, and a miner, you must see, would be much more dangerous than being a cowboy, what with all the cave-ins and temperature changes….yes, you must realize this.
I hope that this letter has found you in good health, though it might have felt as if it has declined some after reading this, and that you will not be too angry with me when I write you again.
With All My Love,