As I've been discussing for a while, the school year is almost finished, at least for me since I'm a senior. That means finals...so I figured I'd share some of my Disney inspired finals with you. This, of which, is only the first.
For my creative writing class, the first of our three parts to our final was our Memoir, which we began writing at the beginning of the semester. The thing is...when I get to writing...I get to writing, and within the first few weeks of working on it I had 13,000+ words. That's right...13,000. That was about double what anyone else had...if not triple or more. There was only one person that was even close.
Either way, we finished that and started to work on something else, so I kind of put it on the back burner. It wasn't in the forefront of my mind to be editing and finish it, although I had a copy printed out, sitting on my desk, waiting for me to edit it by hand, like I generally do with my writing. I never got around to it because there's just so much else to do, but either way, I didn't finish.
And then my final came around, and we were instructed to finish it. So I started me rewriting, and for a week I spent a couple of hours every day, and then on the last day about 6 hours, reworking my memoir. It took a lot of time, rewriting all 13,000 words...but in the end I ended with 16,000, which felt strange since I sometimes cut entire sections, and I didn't always replace it. I added in a lot of quotes though, so that's probably where it came from.
So here's a few excerpts from my memoir, titled The Magic, The Memories and Me at the suggestion of my best friend Megan. The basis of the memoir, which I plan on keeping and possibly revising into an actual book someday, is how Disney has made me who I am.
In a letter written to me at the end of my senior year of high school, one of my good friends wrote an entire paragraph just about me and my love of Disney. While I could probably earn a fortune if every time someone mentioned my love of Disney in my yearbook, there was one portion of this paragraph that got me thinking. She says, “When I first started high school if someone would have asked me what I thought about Disney I would have responded with something like, ‘That’s so childish...’” The rest of the paragraph goes on to explain how I’ve changed that initial mindset and shown her that Disney is so much more. Either way, she started with a different impression of Disney than I did, since I have never seen Disney as “childish.”
In that same letter, she started at the very beginning, a very good place to start, and told me of the first time we met, an experience I barely remember. When it comes to Disney, one could say my beginning was at 15 months old, when I took my first trip to Walt Disney World, but at the same time, my parents had been vacationing there long before that. After my first trip, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World 22 times, making a grand total of 23, and I traveled to Disneyland once. I have literally been surrounded by Disney my entire life, and if my word isn’t enough to prove that fact, my bedroom is. There isn’t going to be anyone else in the world with the exact same history as me. Just like my friend’s initial reaction to Disney, we are all going to see differently. For instance, the icon of Epcot, Spaceship Earth, is my absolute favorite attraction, but to one of my friends, it might be the most boring thing in the world. In the same way, I’m not a big fan of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but my brother still enjoys it to this day. And so, to some, Disney might represent the Princesses, and nothing more. It discourages so many people from witnessing the magic I have seen, magic that might not ever be there for them, and because of this, they might write off this book as silly to begin with. And to others, for those obsessed with Disney on the same level I am, Disney might be their life too, and this book might speak the absolute truth.
And so I began writing on the topic of how Disney has changed me. In the end, my life has been filled with lessons from Disney, and the topic is no longer really how Disney has changed me, but instead how it has made me who I am.
This first passage is my prologue. It hasn't changed much from the first version of the memoir, but I did partly rewrite it to cut some parts and add different ones, such as the letter at the end of my senior year. Hopefully she doesn't mind that quoted her!
Walt Disney taught me how to be adventurous, and to explore things far beyond the Jungle Cruise. He wanted to improve the world around him, and knew that he would have to take risks to get there. Now, Disneyland and the other Disney theme parks throughout the world are some of the most visited places in the world. He knew that just because someone said it wasn’t possible, didn’t mean that it was impossible. For me, without Disney, I wouldn’t be adventurous, and I would probably listen to those naysayers, or judge books by their cover. In fact, I’d probably sit in a safe place refusing to try anything new. If that were the case, I’d have never watched Star Wars, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t get past the first episode. Without Star Wars, I wouldn’t have discovered ApprenticeA Productions, and without them I wouldn’t have the hobbies I do now. I wouldn’t have tried so many different foods, and I certainly wouldn’t know how to make sushi.
Without Disney I wouldn’t be writing this memoir, period. I wouldn’t be writing at all, and that’s something I can no longer see my life without. If it weren’t for the adventurous Walt Disney, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
From my chapter titled "Becoming Adventurous," I talk a lot about how Disney has made me, well, adventurous. There's discussion on sushi, and a whole portion on Star Wars, but how in the end, I wouldn't be as outgoing and adventurous as I am today if I had never gone to Disney World.
Leaders can come from anywhere, and leaders can be anyone. They don’t have to be like Walt Disney and run a company, and they don’t have to be on band council. For my friend, I explained to her that maybe the place that she’s going to be most useful is right where she is, a leader in the important position of welcoming the freshman into the group. She makes sure they have their music, she explains the processes of uniforms and pep band and band concerts. She enables the rest of us to go out and make the correct decisions, because we know that everyone is going to be cared for no matter what that decision is.
She asked me if she should run for council, and while I told her that she’s the only one who can make the decision, I personally feel that she is already a leader in the high school band. Being on council isn’t going to change that. Her job is just as important as mine, and that she should never forget that, even after I’m gone. Because if I have done my job correctly, the Seymour High School Band will go on and be successful long after Lizzie.In my chapter on Leadership, I discuss how I had a conversation with a friend, and how my advice to her on our "band council" went. I break it down into section, but in the end, it's about how she doesn't need to be on band council to be a leader and a good person.
If my life was a movie, like I sometimes wish it was, that moment would look like this. I’d be standing in the middle of the room, my uniform on and my marching hat in my hands. I’d spin slowly, looking at the room around me in slow motion, but the room around me whirls by, the red and black of their uniforms blurring against the white room. And as I complete my turn, everything stops, and I’m the only one left. The lights are turned off, the doors closed, the music stopped and the voices gone. That moment went by faster than I wanted it to, and now I sit here writing, thinking about how this only happened hours ago, and yet even that time seems like ages. I’m not done with the group, as I’ll be back in the future for more performances, but it’s like a part of me is gone. Like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, a weight I want back. I didn’t stop to smell the roses, and now my chance to is gone.For my final quote I decided to include a section from "Stop and Smell the Roses." The section talks about how we walk through life too quickly, and a prime example of this has been band for the last four years. I wrote this portion just after Memorial Day, so it was something that was prominent in my mind at the time, and I got the idea of the movie and what it would look like. And I'm not joking, that is what it would look like if my life was a movie.
And so, someday, if I actually revise this again and decide to publish it, you can read the entire thing. If you are seriously interested in reading my 6 chapter, 41 page book (as in it looks like a 41 page English paper...just with more pictures and it talks about Disney all the time), then feel free to contact me. I'd be more than happy to share it with you. =)
Here's today's Disney History: 1990: Mickey's Starland opens in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Originally known as Mickey's Birthdayland in 1988, it will later be renamed Mickey's Toontown Fair.
Have a magical day!
This post was written on May 31, since I was unable to write for about a week due to finals.