Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Writing again...

I attended a mini two-day writing workshop that I only realized was in fact a memoir-only writing workshop after I joined (and it was too late to quietly walk out unnoticed). So, I decided to stay and see what it's like.

We did a number of exercises there about specific major events in our lives and our teacher (the author of a book called "love in a headscarf" and a blog called spirit21 ) explained that these activities will be revealing to us and will hopefully make us realize that what one might think is uninteresting about their life, is really quite the opposite.

One of the activities involved each of us to write five of our most memorable vivid events in our lives in chronological order and then write down our feelings for each one. Then she asked each of us to look at what we wrote down and tell her how it makes us feel... and honestly, I looked at it and thought... "I really need to get myself a life." I always say that half jokingly, but now, as I looked at the most memorable vivid moments of my life, I realized there was more truth to what I used to say than I'd like to believe.

The teacher herself was amazing. She was articulate, clear and enthusiastic. But, I really hated the course. I didn't just hate it; it was more like torture to me. I tried so hard not to seem uninterested or skeptical so that I don't ruin it for the others. That kind of forced me to try and play along. Thinking about my most vivid events in my life made me remember moments which I'd rather not remember. So I stayed quite most of the time. Made a few odd (lame) jokes here and there, that a very few people actually got (and I bet regretted too), just so that I get my mind off of things.

Memoirs, by their very nature, require you to be self-conceited in a way. The fact that this course is for University students or fresh graduates is just beyond me. You think any student's 20ish years in this life automatically makes them wise enough to write something that will help people in some way or is in any way worth reading? if they do, I say they should get over themselves. To me, I am 24 and I think my real life is just beginning. I'm not saying that I wasn't surprised by some of my classmates samples of writings they read out loud. On the contrary, some of them were really deep and thought-provoking. But quite honestly, non of them made me want to read a memoir written by them or about them.

I think I also hated that course primarily because, I write, in a way, to escape from the burdens of life. Its escapism that attracted me to writing in the first place. When it comes to memoir writing, it required me to write about the very thing that I would like to escape from. So it was very disturbing for me. It felt numbing somehow... just like sometimes life makes you feel. It was also strangely humbling to hear all of the people in the workshop write and/or speak about their life/memoir. It made me realize that I never really appreciated how much anguish or pain people go through everywhere. I just got this feeling that ... I am just like millions of others before me, every feeling has been felt millions of times before and so is every action and every move that I've done. I just got a feeling of discomfort at the very notion that kept creeping up on me ... That I am just a number among billions of others.

I am probably way over-thinking this but, alas, those are my random thoughts.

1 comment:

HD said...

very interesting blog entry. have been a silent reader for a while, enjoy most of your entries, and most of your humor, it reminds me of myself. I just wanted to point out some things that caught my attention in this post. You contradict yourself by saying that one has to be self conceited when writing a memoir and you would not want to write a memoir written by anyone that age you may be right but I believe i depends on the persons experiences, the contradiction is that you yourself was conceited enough to write "I tried so hard not to seem uninterested or skeptical so that I don't ruin it for the others. That kind of forced me to try and play along." believing that your attitude will affect others, and why? if you believe as a 24 year old will affect others attitudes then you probably can affect them in other ways, but if you say that self conceited then well that statement is invalid because people will simply ignore your attitude and enjoy what they came for. (not judging just commenting on what I observed - I like to be all philosophical).
Put in the same situation I think I would have hated remembering some things in my past, but nonetheless need to get a life? you shouldn't think this way because I'm sure like you said your life is just starting and there is endless possibilities coming your way, and I'm sure you have much going on for you, you can play the piano, you can write, you practice law, that in itself is impressive so don't pathetic talk yourself its unattractive and Im sure you're much more than that (again just opinion).
last paragraph was spot on. I have thought about this so many times it just shows how we are all connected in a way that we cant even begin to comprehend.
guess i wrote a lot, maybe i should stick to being a silent reader!