The Things We Treasure

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Writing 101: The Things We Treasure
For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long – experiment with long form and push yourself to write more than usual.

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After thinking and thinking and thinking about what would be my most prized possession, I have finally narrowed it down. At first I thought about my wedding ring, but I realized that was just a symbol. If it broke or I lost it tragically, I would still be married. Then I thought about something intangible like my self-worth, but the assignment clearly stated it should be an object. So, I decided the thing I most cherish is ……… Drum roll please……. my collection of books.

As a budding writer I value the works of writers that have moved me and I treasure their books. I consider books a gateway to life and I have a vast array of works in my collection. Let’s see, I have a sports section to honor my beloved Lady Vols, the autobiography/biography section because I love learning more about people I admire, the fiction section that allows me to escape reality, the non- fiction that keeps my mind sharp and allows for critical thinking, the educational section so I can continue to learn and last but certainly not least, the poetry section to fuel my creativity.

Sports: As a former athlete, I am drawn to books about my former sport of women’s basketball; however, I have chosen to stick to my all time favorite team – The Tennessee Lady Vols!!! The legend Pat Head Summitt has three entries in this section: Raise the Roof, Reach For the Summitt and Sum it Up. All of these are great reads, but my fav is the latter because it is her memoir. It was written after she was diagnosed with early onset dementia that ended her fabulous career as the winningest head coach in college basketball. (Not just women’s basketball) Arguably the most famous Lady Vols, Chamique Holdsclaw has two entries as well: Chamique and Breaking Through. There are also a couple of notable entries in this section that are not directly related to the Lady Vols like the C. Vivian Stringer penned memoir, Standing Tall and Lisa Leslie’s book Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You. Even though these ladies are not affiliated with Tennessee, they do have indirect stories that lead to Knoxville. C. Vivian Stringer is the head coach for Rutgers University and she is great friends with Pat Summitt. It was also her team that suffered from the stupid “Nappy Head Hoes” comment from Don Imus during the 2007 NCAA Championship Game. Lisa Leslie is a world champion, heavily decorated basketball player who once scored 101 points during the first half of a high school game. She was recruited by Pat Summitt to play at Tennessee and almost wore the orange, but chose USC after a racist incident during a college visit.

Autobiography/Biography: This section is home to books by and about Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton, Condoleezza Rice, Robin Roberts, Bette Davis, Nelson Mandela, Dick Gregory and James Weldon Johnson to name a few. I just recently added the Dick Gregory creation “Nigger” to my collection and I can’t wait to read it. The title alone is worth reading it, but I also find him quite fascinating. I enjoy reading the more personal accounts of people I admire or find interesting. This section is one that will definitely grow over time.

Fiction: Doing this assignment showed me my collection is not as diverse as I thought. I reviewed some of my books and realized that most of the authors were African American. This realization made me question why this was true. I guess I relate to the characters more in these books because I have read what are considered “The Classics” and even though I like the stories and I like the characters, I find more of a kinship to the characters of such writers as April Sinclair, Keith Lee Johnson, Sapphire, Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker. One of my all time favorite writers was Octavia E. Butler who wrote sci-fi/fantasy. I absolutely love the main characters in both Kindred and Fledgling. Sometimes the familiarity of a character makes the bond between reader and writer very strong.

Non-Fiction: This section is small but packs a punch. It includes Red Summer, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, and My Life in the Klan, to name a few. Most of the books in this section deal a lot with history and some are cool table books with replications of letters or posters from the past.
Educational: This section houses religious books as well as how to books. I have learned everything from taking pictures to screenwriting and how to fold napkins properly. There is a slew of information in these books because I have always been interested in how to do multiple things. Since I was young I could never pin point what it was I wanted to do with my life. I have wanted to be a vet, a teacher, a coach, a business woman, event planner, film maker, actor, singer, photographer the list goes on and on. I finally realized me being so curious about all professions was research for the writer in me. You have to know a subject in order to write about it.

Poetry: As a poet myself, I love to read the prose of other writers. I especially enjoy Edgar Allan Poe, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and Ntozake Shange. Even though he is not necessarily known as a poet, MLK made his words dance like a poem. I enjoy pulling out one of their books and reading the creations aloud. There is just something special about the spoken word.

My book collection may not be monetarily valuable, but to me it is one thing that I value the most because it helped to shape who I was, am and will become.

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