1. "I was 17 at the time — I thought that writing meant using $20 words and if you can find $50 words, all the better. And I wrote these essays about — I don’t know what topics — topics I considered worldly. And I had my mother read them before I sent them off to colleges and she said, ‘You sound insane.’ It was one of the biggest arguments we’ve ever had and we just went around and around. I thought, ‘This woman obviously doesn’t know good writing.’ And we were slamming doors. I remember this like it was this morning.

    But she, as she always does, she prevailed and she said, ‘Just tell them the truth. Pick out something from your life. Speak from the heart.’ And so I told them about a part-time job I had with these two eccentric booksellers in this little bookstore near our dinky apartment, and I just wrote about how these guys gave me books and talked to me about books and how much I looked up to them and how they’d open the world to me and I couldn’t wait to extend that experience to college — just read more books with smart people.

    — Author J.R. Moehringer on writing his college application essay

  2. J.R. Moehringer


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