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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.
Fan mail  

Iíve always been a sucker for praise. I mean, really, who isnít? Itís such a great feeling when you receive a warm pat on the back for what youíve been doing or a few precious genuine words to nudge you on.

So itís Sunday, my worst day of the weekend. Well, okay, itís not that bad, but compared to Friday night partying and Saturday full-day work, Sundayís just boring. Last Friday, I got home around two and went to work at 11 the next morning. I came back at midnight, and Sunday was welcoming me warmly with an armful of unfinished schoolwork.

I was planning to start writing my Spanish essay comparing the theme of illusion versus reality in two works of literature( yes, in Espa“ol. Think how long that would take, with me looking up translations and spellings for every other word!) when I decided to put off the dread a little while longer by check my e-mail.

I got a message from my friend saying that someone praised me in a recent ďletters to the editorĒ mail. I got all excited because Iíve never received one of these before and immediately checked the Starís website.

And there it was, the highlight of my day. The gush of joy that will make doing Spanish homework less painful.

Mr. Gelinsky---thank you for your letter. Itís so encouraging to know that people read and care about a humble student writer in a local newspaper. Iím flattered that you still remember some of my incipient articles, and I couldnít help but grin when you mentioned The Pimple.

That article on the Ďsecret to happinessí was my favorite also. It was my longest, and after writing it, I felt drained, like Iíve captured all my emotions onto the paper perfectly for the first time. Itís funny, my boss told me a man actually cut out the piece and brought it over to KFC. Itís now plastered on the wall somewhere in the office, and my coworkers have been nudging me to write a feature special on them again.

Iíve also received a written letter from another fan. Enclosed was a lengthy photocopy of his Ďramblingsí back in 1971 when he was a confused student. It was startling how the writing paralleled mine, how the ideas were so similar despite the time gap. Thank you for the precious gift. Itís made me realize that this coming of age confusion happens to everybody. Itís great to feel that kind of connection and empathy.

And also, to the couple whoís compared my racist bigot to a cockroach, what a perfect parallel! I received the most response after my musings Ďon racism.í My neighbor cut out the article and wordlessly gave me a hug at the door. Friends read it and were shocked. My coworkers and I have been trying to hunt down the man, though he never came back again.

Writing for the Star has changed me. Itís become a soothing Sunday ritual, in between piano practice and unfinished schoolwork, Iíd take an hour or so musing over and writing my next article, hearing the steady clicks of the keyboard follow the flowing of the clock. I started viewing my daily routine in a different light, trying to find gems of moments to capture into a story. My writing and communications skills have improved, and without the column, something would be missing.

To your request, Mr. Gelinsky, I would love to keep the column after high school. This summer, Iím visiting family in China and may even take a trip to Southeast Asia! Then, itís off to New York. I canít wait to live and write the next page in my life and detail all the ups and downs of college craze. Currently, I also have a column titled School and the Suburbs in the Houston Chronicle. Check it out. It comes out every Tuesday in the Star/Entertainment section and is like a shorter more lighthearted version of my column here.

All this from a few words of encouragement, praise is a powerful thing.

Thanks to all the readers of this column---please let me know your thoughts.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  February 08, 2007