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Common App essay - " BLUES"


mike920324 1 / 9  
Nov 21, 2009   #1
I need some harsh criticisms, feel free to rip it apart

Blues

It is a late Monday afternoon like any other, dull, mellow and dusty. I shuffle along the crowd of mindless city dwellers, jaded by the austere concrete jungle around me. Monday is always the worst day of the week. The city moans like a weary giant, slowly crawling and turning. Sitting in the subway, I wait impatiently and look around at the tired eyes still dazed from last night's party, and empty faces blindly checking off half-finished crosswords. Nobody is feeling particularly lively. It seems like eternity until the train slowly creaks to a stop. When the doors are opened, a trickle of life flickers on my radar.

I squeeze through the subway doors. There he is, a dark-skinned man in his fifties, scrubby and unkempt, with an old electric guitar slumped down his chest. The way he leans against the wall, looking particularly relaxed and wistful, distinguishes him from the bustling crowd of caffeinated commuters. A few stray hairs cover his eyes, obscuring them from the scrutiny of curious onlookers. The guitar is a vintage Fender Telecaster, a 1980s model by the look of it. With a small amplifier plugged into the wall, the wires worn and wrapped together, there he is, a normal busker like any other.

Yet, the man is anything but normal. He has been there almost every day of the week, morning to afternoon. He sings with passion and pride. He asks for nothing from the passing strangers, from the tired eyes, from the sullen faces cast in a monotonous expression of melancholy and boredom. He smiles, and puts his soul and joy into the songs and out through the guitar strings, coloring the soporific shades of grey around him. People steal glances at him, stripping him bare with their blistering stares. Coins are touched by greasy fingers, by clean sanitized hands, probing through dirty wallets and expensive, shiny purses, tossed into a tarnished bowl of his dignity and a day's work. They clatter, bouncing up and down, taunting him with jeering laughs and unspoken promises. He stands calmly, only half a man, legitimizing his foreign feet on hostile lands.

Art has a way of uniting people. When his fingers brush against the steel strings and his voice resonates through the air, the bustling space slows down around him. I feel as if my steps have paused for a fraction of a second. In a fleeting moment of time, I am a part of his story, of his passion and love for music.

He becomes my inspiration, and my teacher. In a few brief moments of passing, the scrawny man has taught me something that I will always remember. He shows me that there is no need to display qualities which I do not have, or to justify my existence and value through others' eyes.

Life is about being passionate about something you hold dear. It is about appreciating the intrinsic values in each and every moment, in the simple joy of waking up in the morning and going to bed at night, in the love from my mother's eyes and the laughter I share with my friends, and in the knowledge I seek and the lessons I learn. Standing in a subway station, the busker sings with all his heart and disregards the scrutinizing world around him. He allows no one and nothing, not even his own poverty, to suppress his passion for music.

It is this same passion that drives me forward to this very day. Each time I walk past him, I feel encouraged and inspired about my life and my future. This passion is a source of joy; it is a steady compass that guides me in the pursuit of happiness. His music has become a faithful companion, encouraging me to smile and to find joy in the challenges posed ahead. I have learned to cherish each day that was given to me. When I approach problems with an ardent curiosity, the world becomes a place of endless possibilities, a blank canvas, and a new page.

Although we have never spoken, and I only see him for a few seconds each day, every single one of our encounters becomes tokens of memories that communicate in a way words cannot. I am almost afraid to break that transient moment of a simple smile, a slight nod, and a shiny coin placed into his bowl. Walking away, I can feel the soft melodies drifting alongside me, like a dandelion, dissipating into the air.

big heart 1 / 14  
Nov 22, 2009   #3
Sorry, i am not an expert in writing essay so i cannot give you the harsh criticisms you expected but i really want to share that i really like your essay!

I was inspired by it!
Thank you very much!
amaryrose 2 / 16  
Nov 22, 2009   #4
i am very jealous, this is such a superb essay!

But I still have a few comments to make.

"He stood there, like a living and breathing statue that became almost a part of his surroundings." -- I feel like this wording is a little awkward. maybe make it a verb like "...statue melting into his surr..." (that's just an example, I'm sure you can think of something better.)

"A few strand hairs covered..." -> probably just a typo, should be either "a few stray hairs" or "A few strands of hair"

"Coins were touched by greasy fingers, by clean sanitized hands, by uncut fingernails and painted fingernails, probing through dirty wallets and expensive, shiny purses, tossed in suicidal freefalls into the tarnished bowl of his dignity and a day's work." -- I know the point you are making (and love it) but I think this sentence could be structured a little more. Right now all the phrases are kinda hanging out all willy nilly, with a lot of commas holding them together. I think the hands should be the first subject (instead of coins), to set you in some direction

"He stood calmly, only half a man, legitimizing his foreign feet on hostile lands. " What? I may just be dense, but this totally went over my head.

"When his fingers brushed against the steel strings and his voice resonated through the air, the bustling space slowed down around him. I felt as if my steps paused for a fraction of a second. In a fleeting moment of time, I was a part of his story, of his passion and love for music.

He became my inspiration, and my teacher." -- I think you can but this short section in the present tense. I usually don't recommend present tense for narrative, but for some reason I think it might work here. Just try it, see if you like it.

"Walking away, I can feel the soft melodies drifting alongside me, like a sea of dandelions , dissipating into the air." uhh, that's a stretch. if you really want some sort of simile, maybe it could be like 'a lone dandelion'. BUT I think this idea will be stronger without that literary device.

And, finally, the hardest part: your essay is just a little bit long. For the casual reader, the length is intriguing and suspenseful, for an admissions officer it is just a 100 words too long. I know it is hard - especially when each word feels just right. However, I think there are some adjectives here and there that are neat, but aren't completely necessary. If under 600 is too much, I like you could get by if you cut it down to just under 700 words.

Could you take a look at my essays?
OP mike920324 1 / 9  
Nov 22, 2009   #5
thank you guys!
i will do a second draft tonight and post it here. and i will most definitely take a look at your essays =]

thanks!
Kirovreporting 1 / 1  
Nov 23, 2009   #6
Great essay! I was thinking maybe for the end, maybe use one tense?

Although we never spoke, and I only saw him for a few seconds each day, every encounter became a token of memory that communicated in a way words cannot. I was almost afraid to break that transient moment of a simple smile, a slight nod, and a shiny coin placed into his bowl. Walking away, I felt the soft melodies drifting alongside me, like a dandelion, dissipating into the air.

Im not good at editing though! just my opinion
OP mike920324 1 / 9  
Nov 23, 2009   #7
Okay i fixed all the tenses, give it another read and see if its good
cuddles 3 / 10  
Nov 23, 2009   #8
I have learned to cherish each day that is given to me.

I think this is a really great essay. Could you go through mine please??


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