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Note to the forum contributors

Rajiv 55 / 400  
Mar 25, 2015   #1
While the onus is entirely on the author of the piece to get his/ her ideas across; I have to wonder if that means that those commenting on it have little to contribute in that process.

Most people submitting essays here are likely to be non-native speakers of English.

I am also thinking that for them the process goes something like this --

We have a prompt for which we write our response.

Here's the part I want to emphasize for the EF_contributors. We the writers have the idea in our heads which we develop for a period.

Then comes the difficult, or interesting part depending on how one feels towards it, where we attempt to express it in a manner which is best understood -- by native english speakers.

That's it. That's really all there is to it.

Consider this. An author of a piece spends 4-6 or more hours, and I think mostly in that part where he/ she looks and searches for just the right expression.

English is very different from other languages, one of which could be the one the author is native to.

To think it is simply about finding the equivalent expression is too much of an over simplification.

Much else that is different goes into creating the nuances which add or remove emphasis, and thereby convey the intended sense.

What you really see here is a piece, clothed in English but its undergarments are of an altogether different kind. And to carry that analogy further, the person himself is a non-caucasion, yet he wants to be accepted as what is acceptable in your country.

How would you make such a person comfortable, were you to meet him? And that is your responsibility.

You have not only to make him comfortable enough to speak what is on his mind, he has already shown his willingness to learn your language and even your other ways. You, gracious that you have been in accepting to help him -- cannot just be curt, or perfunctory. Not if you mean to be sincere with the task you have chosen, and are not putting on a show perhaps, of only doing so.

Thank you.
rettabby 1 / 4  
Mar 25, 2015   #2
What you just said makes so much sense and I can relate to it because I came to America not knowing English
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Mar 26, 2015   #3
Thanks Loretta, you're doing quite okay now I think. Your essays are pretty good.

My older daughter, now twenty-five, is a big 'fan' of Africa. I am sure you too are one of those cheerful, good natured people that have so endeared her.

Good luck.
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
May 1, 2015   #4
Another note for the forum contributors -- on collecting party points

We've been to these sort of parties.

Birthday parties, with tinsel hats, bowls of fruit punch, lots of moms all around. Everyone is trying to make all the invited people have a good, good time. But you are just hating it, because you're only caught up in this for some reason.

Anyway it all drags on, and you know that there's neither escape for you, nor any possibility of ducking away out of sight.

So, what choice do you have but to pretend, like most others, that you too are having a good time.

You may have sensed that this party was going to be one of these, even as you walked in. So, to keep from just being miserable for its duration, you put your party-hat on along with others, and went around playing the same team games organized here.

Whether it was something puerile as collecting little chits hidden in hard to find places, or to tag someone with some kind of dress they're wearing. Your mind was zoned out, and all you thought of, rather made yourself think of were getting party-points. At the end of the game, everyone loudly and most meaninglessly give a big cheer for the winner.

ChristineB - / 108 55  
May 2, 2015   #5
Hi, Rajiv. I am unsure about the point you want to get across with this writing. Let me ask you some questions to clarify your intent:

1. What do you want your message to be with this piece of writing? Is this about how parties can be boring? Or are you using this point-of-view to set the reader up for an interesting twist later on (like how THIS particular party ended up being really interesting, really rewarding, etc.)?

2. Is this the beginning of a longer story or is this the complete story?

I think once we know the answers to these questions, we'll be better able to help you with your writing submission.

Also, your tone is quite negative in this piece. I think it's acceptable to take a negative tone while writing in certain circumstances, or for short amounts of time, but be aware that negativity in writing (or anywhere else, for that matter) will inevitably turn some people off (just as too much positivity can be "nauseating").

If I were you, I'd devote fewer sentences in this piece to negative sentiments. You could start off that way, but quickly "turn the corner" and present a more positive tone. Even if you are arguing that parties are a complete waste of time and have absolutely no value whatsoever, you could suggest alternative ways for children to celebrate happy moments, explaining why your proposed ways are better than the types of parties we have now. Just find a way to be balanced in the end.

For example, I have personally found that children's birthday parties are mommy networking events. For stay-at-home moms who aren't out in the workplace, birthday parties are a really wonderful way to meet people who might be helpful on down the line (like if and when these moms ever decide that they want to enter the workforce). Going to children's birthday parties can also be helpful for moms looking for good childcare options - they talk to other moms about which babysitters are good, etc.. I've personally learned a lot about future school options, extracurricular lessons, babysitters and more, just while standing around talking to people at children's birthday parties!

So, let us know where you want to take this piece, and then we can help you refine it.

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