Saturday, April 19, 2008

No you're not hardcore

I hate writing about myself.

Yeah, I know, I'm dangerously flirting with that line I swore I'd never cross, the line where a blog becomes nothing but a giant dumping ground for all the things in life that suck out loud. But sometimes you just have to complain, have to discuss certain topics in a cosmic attempt to figure out what is going on in life.

I need to write a 6-page minimum "memoir" for my lit class. It's due Wednesday at 8 (which is why I can't go to the Ben Folds concert. I already begged my professor to let me hand in the stupid paper early and skip the required party at her house. She said no dice, and ignored me for the rest of the class). And even though it should be the EASIEST FINAL EVER, I cannot write a single word.

First, there is the obvious question of what to write about. For the rough draft we had to turn in a month ago, this was a slight problem. Since I really, REALLY hate writing about myself, I decided to highlight the time I met Cleveland, the documentary filmmaker/ jazz musician on the bus. That way, I could make it all about him with next to no information about my feelings, personality, or own experience. Sadly, my oh-so-clever professor saw through that ruse, and here I am at square one.

So what should I write about? My love for Halloween, the classic costumes of my past, and that strange recurring dream I had every October 30th until I was eight? Or the time I went skiing and one of my best friends got a head injury, leading to the scariest moment of my life? And what about when I went to Segofest and saw Castle Park for the first time, and I knew...just knew... that one day I would film a killer awesome scene from Shakespeare there. But each time I start elaborating on either of these topics, the cliches start flowing from my fingers, spewing forth a mess of stilted, unrealistic words that I look back on, wincing and trying unsuccessfully to keep from gagging at the kitschy garbage that is my writing.

There are several things I could blame for my aversion to autobiographies. It could be because I've simply gotten out of the practice. It might shock some of you, but I used to be a great creative writer. Short stories were my niche. But I am lazy, and after five or six years of schooling that has not required any creativity on my part, but rather the ability to write a cohesive and enthralling essay (which I do quite well. Have I ever told you about my Dracula paper? Great stuff), my whimsical story writing soul has disappeared. It could also be because I don't consider my life hardly ... lived yet. I'm still young, and the majority of my life is ahead of me, so why would I want to look back on the paltry bit that is behind me? But I think the real reason I hate writing about myself is because of my incredible vanity. It's true. I'm the most vain, self-centered person I know. And I really don't want any written proof of that in the world. No, seriously. I write things about myself, read them, and then think "Wow, that person is pretty lame. Let's never do the whole journaling thing again".


Kite Potter said...

Cat, I loved this post and I suggest you jump to new heights of insanity and write poetry about yourself.

Trust me, you don't know vain until you can write a poem in true confessional form and pray for someone to publish it!

ps- happy birthday today. John and I missed you heaps last night. May that teacher of yours fry!

paigeistheword said...

We're told that journaling is for posterity, but when I go back and read things I've written about myself, I want to burn it. And I don't burn things I write.

Ashley said...

Your teacher sucks.
Ugh, cliches.
They make tears form on my face like the water droplets that slide across car windshields separating into sperm-like forms.
You didn't really think this comment would be sperm-free, did you?
If you still need help, there's a section in On Writing Well (the best non-fiction writing help EVER) that's dedicated to the memoir.

I think I'm more vain than you since I actually like writing about my life. Probably because it's the only thing I really know much about.