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Killing the Angel

by Amanda Nell Cobb

Every time I pick up a pen to write or gaze at a blank computer screen, The Angel of the House appears, and she makes all my lofty thoughts and philosophical ideas disappear like the colony of Roanoke. Like this forsaken settlement, my thoughts vanish without a trace, and I am left with the nothingness of an exasperated mind. She sits there, smirking at me, knowing that my mind is blank. I am intimidated by the ideas I cannot express, and all I can focus on are nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives.

With her influence, I begin to write nonsense that I wouldn't force myself to read again much less anyone who would be unfortunate enough to come across it. I get so caught up in sentence structure, formulating a great thesis and receiving that elusive A that I lose the integrity of my paper, and it becomes just another meaningless collection of words bundled in a tight five-page package.

Good writing is like a rare butterfly, rich in color and symmetry, chaotic in design, and I, stupid and wishful, struggle against all odds to catch this treasure and hold it. Writing is a chore, a highly structured process I vainly attempt to grasp but for many reasons cannot. I read great literature constantly and am amazed at the poignancy of authors' views and ideas. How could I, Amanda Cobb, presume to speak my thoughts and opinions when there are so many others who have communicated so much better than I ever could?

If I were fortunate enough to catch this butterfly, I would not dare to ask for it longer than just one essay, one paragraph, one sentence; to be what I admire most, to do what I cannot but struggle vainly with a force against me so strong I gasp to accomplish. Sometimes, I admit that I fail in my pursuit and I rest, but not for long because I am ever driven by a passion, a determination and a restlessness that is a part of me, just as my soul and just as integral.

Thus, the problem: How to kill the Angel that stifles my imagination and censors my writing to her socially constricting standards? Should I do as Virginia Woolf and take an inkpot and fling it at her or create my own well-devised plan for her demise? Should I sit her down and make her read the senseless, superficial trash she causes my highly feminine and innovative mind to place on paper until she writhes in the error of her many mistakes?

After making this Angel read what she forces me to write, I would begin the long process of writing what was really on my mind. It would be hard at first, but after a long struggle, I know that without the influence of this Angel I could overcome these inhibitions and become the writer I could have been.

The Angel of the House will die, and I will no longer have constraints on my own thoughts, my own views, my own CREATIVITY. Genius lurks somewhere in my seemingly vacant brain, and one day this elusive butterfly will be mine to hold, and I will become what I admire most, and I will write.