A question for everyone


Of Chaos and Order
Sep 3, 2001
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I am writing an essay for a college application, and it also is what they use to see if they want to give me a scholarship, so it's kinda important. Well, I'm not sure what to choose to make my topic, so I wanted to see what you guys (and girls) would choose, so I can get an idea. (Not steal an idea, just create one based on suggestions).

This is what I have to do:

"Describe a fictional character, historical figure, or imaginative work (art, music, science, etc.), that has had an influence on you and describe that influence."

Now I know the obvious is "Opeth!!!", and it is my inclination to use it, so that is the reason for my asking. I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not. Thanks everyone.

My initial instinct is to deter you from using that topic, but if you can pull it off with sincerity and courage and love, a defiant love, that evinces proudly who you are and why you love what you love, I think Opeth would make a great presentation and platform for you to introduce yourself.

A few tips:

1) Do not bore them with details about Opeth. They won't give a fuck. Simply state who they are and move on.

2) Contextualize Opeth in your life especially under these two concerns: a) what opeth is in your life as a toiling human being trying to make it in the world. You should get extremely personal here. But be sure to remain sincere and discrete. b) Explain why *a* is important anyway. What good does it do the world if a teenager likes Opeth or limp bizkit or scratching his balls all day long for that matter? You have to vindicate your taste here. This is the perfect chance for you to reveal to them your social/political/cultural consciousness of things.

I might suggest such themes as conformity/non-conformity, discontent with an mtv-governed society, life in general (heh, should you decide to get "doom metal" on them) etc-- things that are typical of opeth fans. Use your imagination.

Hope that helps. (by the way, I got accepted to NYU among other schools)
if you decide to write about Opeth, try to
add some stuff about how they shatter boundaries
and how they make you see things from different
angles :)

cheesy, but that's the way teachers want it, hehe
Sorry if this seems totally obvious, but my advice is answer the question. When ur writing it constantly compare it to the question and ensure you're answering it. The problem I always have when I'm writing about stuff that interests me is that I get totally side-tracked and end up completely missing the question out. And that doesn't get u good marks :)
I agre with you in full, godisanatheist, happens to me all the time, thanks for the tip, I'll definitely use it.

And I'll see what I can do, E V I L. Sounds liek a goot layout. I might just choose another topic, but No one there has heard of Opeth, so it won't be tired with them, just the people that know me.
In my opinion, the people who actually read such things in colleges tend to look favourably upon originality. I think you should use the opeth topic for sure.

For example, I once had to write a essay about an embarassing life experience to determine whether or not I could get a part time job at the college teaching/tutoring english. I wrote about a time when I was 15 and me and my band mates were playing a little gig at a local teen tavern. We had a few beers that night (2) and after the first set I had a horrible headache and took an asperin. Not a good idea! After a 3rd beer and the end of the second set I attempted to get up from my drum stool (my kit was raised about 2 feet above the stage on a platform) and I temporarily lost it (my balance that is) and fell to the left onto the stage from the platform, ouch. As I fell, my foot hooked a leg of the hat stand and the hats tipped and fell right at me! Had I not managed to catch it, the hats (they are very thick and heavy) would've hit and sliced me in the head/face and surely have cut my head open.

Anyway, that's what I wrote in an essay and the chick who read it thought it was cool that I had such "audacity", heheh.

I've always been a bit of a risk-taker and it's always paid off for me.

As a conclusion to this thread, I will post the essay that I ended up sending. Tell me what you guys think.

Morningrisen Influence
(an essay on influence)

Any given person takes influence from everything he or she experiences. Whether it is a positive or negative influence, each experience has it’s own impact on that person. With this in mind, I have had considerable trouble pinpointing a certain thing that has influenced me. As a person of high imaginative standards, that which I take influence from is generally also the result of a great amount of talent. The bar that I set as a benchmark for the quality I desire from imaginative works is surpassed only by my expectations of that which comes from me. This trait is one that I consider to be a great virtue, and is also one that I believe I am coming to possess.
The thing that made me realize that “good enough” does not exist is a musical work. This may seem laughable at first, but imagination can be portrayed in a multitude of ways, and music happens to be my favorite. Said musical work is an album called “Morningrise” by a band called “Opeth”. It is a composition comprised of many very different styles of music pieced together such that, strangely, they do not contrast. On the surface, Opeth tend to sound like a band of the “death metal” genre; this is due to the singing style, and interspersed sections of anger. Calling them “death metal”, though, is very inaccurate, especially considering that the genre is marked by simplicity, hate, and often ignorance; none of which are attributes of Opeth. Opeth have also been called progressive, due to the intricacy, eclecticism, and other-worldly nature of their music, and take obvious influence from classical and jazz styles.
“Morningrise” is a piece divided into five parts, (songs, for lack of a better word), each of which is longer than ten minutes. The music is saturated with harmony, and lacks the repetetivity of popular music, as well as the “catchiness”. It often moves back and forth from distorted sections with angered vocals, to acoustic guitars complimented by the beautiful singing voice of Mikael Akerfeldt. The most noteworthy thing of the album, though, is it’s utter beauty, which is derived mainly from the vast amount of emotion harnessed by the music and channelled to the listener.
The first influence this album had on me was that it made me redefine what my musical interest actually was: I could no longer listen to music casually, and pay little attention to it. I began to listen for the intricacies in all music music i heard; I put myself in the place of those playing the music, and tried to understand what it was the writers originally intended the music to portray. This led to my loss of interest in music that is made for the trend: music that is hollow, devoit of inspiration.
The next influence Opeth’s “Morningrise” had on me came when I analyzed the music. The fact that Opeth so gracefully intertwined multiple music styles that they sounded far more beautiful together than any of them would apart, caused me to ponder the truth of this idea elsewhere. It made me wonder if all the things that humans have segregated, because of our inclination to dislike difference, would be twice as marvelous as before, if they conjoined and collaborated with each other. Mixed, no so far as to lose identity, but in a means to harmonize their differences, (full acceptance between races, creeds, etc. for example). Another thing I’ve noticed about “Morningrise” is that it is uniformly melancholy. Generally, it is thought that only things that are cheerful can be enjoyed, (thus the notion of harp-playing, singing and dancing endlessly in heaven), but I seem to derive a somber kind of contentedness from this work; a feeling that I cannot get from something upbeat and cheerful. Once I realized the contradiction, I came to the conclusion that both sadness and happiness have positive traits. Each reflects something beneficial onto a person’s soul, and without one, the other becomes meaningless.
“Morningrise” has given me great inspiration as both a music and poetry writer. It’s music, as stated previously, pushes me to reconsider what I have written, and to ask myself “Is this my very best?” While the lyrics on the album require many readings to fully understand, and often leave a feeling of mystery behind for the reader to hold onto, credited to the well-balanced vagueness of these five poems. Most of them are about the loss of a loved one, and the thoughts provoked therein; a theme which fits perfectly into the atmosphere of the music. Thus I take influence from “Morningrise” in a technical way also.
The last manner in which I take influence from “Morningrise” builds upon the first I listed, in which I learned to scrutinize all music that befell my ears. More recently, I have heeded the intricacies, not only of music, but of the entire world around me. Each event, person, idea, or product thereof is cause for analyzation, and each of these presents it’s own respective influence on me. For this perspective, I can give much credit to “Morningrise”, because that album helped me open my mind to more abstract things.
I conclude by stating that Opeth’s “Morningrise” has not only been a wonderful musical experience, but also a wonderful place to draw artistic and abstract inspiration. It is by no means my only source of influence, but it is one I am most appreciative of being privileged to experience.