My College Try

So this is the Statement of Purpose that I submitted to USC...

I was four steps into the crosswalk, on my way to deliver paperwork to the registrars’ office, when a car made a left turn and sent me flying. It happened so fast. What I remember is sort of cartoonish and fragmented. It comes to me in flashes and still frames. The first thing I saw was the grill of the Honda. Then, the hood of the small silver car coming closer to my face. From a distance I heard myself screaming and I actually had time to think, “Is that me? It sounds so girly and high pitched. I didn’t know I was capable of making a noise like that.” Blue Sky. Black asphalt. More Blue sky. My bare feet flying over my head. Later I realized that my shoes stayed planted exactly where I had been standing as I flipped through the air, bouncing twice before landing on my left hip and shoulder.

“Get down on the ground!” I had popped back up once I realized that the car had, in fact, stopped. “You were hit by a CAR! Get down on the ground!” Two witnesses came running toward me. I stood there, barefoot, shaking, and very certain that I would not be lying down in the middle of the street ever again. They sat me down on the curb, propping me up against a tree. Someone else went after my shoes and the paperwork that, only moments before, had been my job to deliver. The cops came quickly and took the driver aside while the Paramedics put me in a neck brace, strapped me to a backboard, and loaded me into the ambulance. Once inside the ambulance, the impossibly cute EMT did his job. He kept me talking.

“Can you tell me what happened? Is this where you work?” He was filling out his clipboard and watching me closely for signs of a concussion, “Is this your dream job? What would you do it you could do anything?”

“Are we really having a conversation about my hopes and dreams right now?” “Sure. Why not? What would you do?”

“I want to be a writer.”

“Really? Wow. This will certainly give you good stuff to write about tomorrow, won’t it? Maybe not tomorrow but soon.”

Once inside the emergency room, the Nurses scurried around me checking for signs of internal bleeding, brain swelling, and other fatal things I had not initially thought to worry about.

“Are you a registered organ donor?” the nurse with the clipboard asks.

“What?”

“On your driver’s license, do you have the little pink sticker that says ‘donor’?”

“Yes, why?”

“Do you have a will or living trust of any kind?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Next of kin?”

“Excuse me?”

“Who should we call in the event of your death?”

“Am I going to die today?”

“It’s a formality. I’m following procedure.”

The Doctor hurried in and was briefed by the nurse with the clipboard about my accident. He looked down at me, as I was still immobilized, and said, “Gosh, someone was really looking out for you today. This could’ve ended very differently for you. Do you understand how lucky you are?”

“Well, I’m not finished yet.” Was all I could think to say. I never had any doubts about whether or not I would be able to walk out of the hospital that day blissfully unaware of the pain I would experience in the weeks and months to come. More often than not, it takes facing the risk of life and death to point me in the direction of the things I’ve always wanted but am too afraid to ask for.

I am particularly interested in the integration of faith and storytelling. The way we talk about our lives directly correlates to the size and shape of our lives. I believe that boring stories lead to boring lives and the other way around. My other interest is women’s issues and relationships. More than anything, women love to talk. Stories about what makes us tick as individuals are riveting and undeniably stranger than fiction. My plan for Graduate School is two-fold. I want to write, within the Creative Non-Fiction genre, about the power of storytelling as it relates to finding our identity as individuals and teach others how valuable this sort of self-expression is.

If I were to write a book today, I would title it, “The Art of Exaggeration, How Writing Saved My Life.” Exaggerating is considered a gift in my family. It has always been a prerequisite at the dinner table. Every night, we were expected to tell a story. Not just any story. It had to be a great one. It had to make us all laugh or cry or see the world differently. Laughing was the most fun and actually the hardest part to achieve. My family is one of the toughest audiences I’ve ever encountered. Over the years, I’ve developed a gift for communicating concepts and bringing “High Art” down to earth. Sharing about my own journey as well as the craft of writing and helping others tell the story of their life is the most rewarding kind of life I can think of. Even when my life is on the line and I’m told I can choose anything.