Freedom Through Writing

Emerald Connection, March 13, 2023

By: Harper Donnel

Early on, I found myself writing novels. I think that stories create different lives that in some way, I’m able to live in myself. The stories I write reappear in my dreams and I’m able to imagine how the world looks that I created.

I have noticed that there aren’t many other kids my age that find writing a novel in their free time to be entertaining. To me, it’s freeing. I have the liberty to create any world imaginable. The characters’ fates and adventures are all up to me. In my own story, I have the ability to make decisions. Though, it isn’t up to me to decide if I get into a school, I still made the decision to apply to boarding schools for my high school years. As the schools’ decision release dates approach, I wonder how I would be feeling if I didn’t put in the effort of finding a school, applying to it, taking the SSAT, and preparing for an interview. When I write stories, I get to take a break from my own life and be a part of my characters’ lives instead.

During my years of playing the cello, I’ve also developed an interest in composing music. Composing is very similar to writing novels. I’ve been told that while I’m playing a song, I should imagine what kind of feelings and personalities my parts send out to the audience. Many quartets that I’ve been a part of have been thought of as conversations. Thinking of a storyline for a song helped me to emote more and help the audience to understand what personality the song has. While I compose, I think of a story or situation to help me decide what kind of music I want to write.

Sometimes, I think that I’m living in one of my stories. During COVID-19 events seemed surreal. Some things I can’t imagine happening until they happened to me. As I look ahead into my story, I have trouble finding a school where I can do everything I love. It’s hard for me to decide what I want to continue.

The process of searching for a boarding school is a jungle. The options are infinite. Surprisingly enough, there aren’t many schools that offer music programs and sports. My many specific extracurriculars that I enjoy helped me to narrow down the search quite a bit and I was able to find schools that would allow me to continue what I love while also being immersed in a different environment.

As I develop more skills in writing, I am able to pay attention to many intricate details that go on in my own life. Even swinging from a tree I find sentimental and something symbolic that I can apply in my writing. Similar to music, I can use the image of something that I’ve created in my head, influence the shape of the song. If I was imagining a swing, for example, I would have a lot of notes that flow across the strings in a movement that reminds me of a swing’s. I’ve never really finished any of the novels that I’ve started writing. I start, but then new ideas keep popping in my head, so I start over. I hope to finish one of my novels one day. I think I just need to find the right subject. I’m proud of myself for finishing my boarding school application process and though it closes a challenging journey, it begins a new chapter of my life.