College Essay Example Two from Accepted Columbia University Student

The Power of Words

“I had walled the monster up within the tomb!” My uncle vehemently said with a clenched fist.  He closed the book, removed his glasses, crossed his right leg over his left and reclined in his chair. A crack of thunder interrupted the silence in the room. My eyebrows were raised, and my eyes were wide.

Darkness crept over the house as my uncle turned off the flashlight that he had placed under his chin during the reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat. There wasn’t a sound made by the half dozen people in the room. All that could be heard was rain sifting through the trees outside.

I was eleven or twelve at the time and was whisked to bed by my mother soon after the story. I remember on that night I couldn’t sleep. The story tormented me as it replayed in my mind. It didn’t help that my uncle’s cat meowed and walked about the house through the night. What amazes me to this day is the effect that the five page story had on me. I saw how profound the written word can be. I wanted to be able to tell stories like Edgar Allan Poe.

After my “Poe” experience, I started to write a story for the next time at my uncle’s cabin in the woods. As soon as I sat down with my pen and paper, ideas started to flow. I felt free. Free to create any scene, any mood, any character. Writing was a new way to express my ideas and thoughts. 

We returned the next year and made the same circle in the living room, but this time, I was reading my own story. The room fell silent after the first sentence. Six sets of eyes were fixated on me. The wind howled in the background as I read. I saw my uncle fidget in his chair as he leaned in and put his hand to his mouth. I continued reading. When I finished the story, there wasn’t a sound made by the half dozen people in the room. I peered around, my uncle’s eyes were wide and eyebrows were raised. My mom mouthed the word “wow.” My aunt shared the look of my uncle.

By no means was my story up to the caliber of Poe’s but it was a beginning. I continued writing and working on my craft. I have entered writing contests, tried my hand at different styles: poetry, journalistic writing and essays. The inspiration for me was that one evening, that sleepless night, and the feeling of fear I felt from Edgar Allan Poe’s story. I want to be able to make a lasting impression through writing like Poe did for me. This is my goal, but Poe has also showed me that writing is a lifelong process, something you continually work on and improve upon. I have enjoyed writing every step of the way and I am working to continue and advance my craft.   


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