Monday, December 15, 2008

okay, okay. I empathize already. (dangit.)

Every semester when my students are writing their personal narratives, I tell them that the hardest part about narrative is honesty. But it's not the *intent* to tell the truth that's hardest. The very hardest part of narrative is that we have to be honest with *ourselves.*

Maybe without meaning to, we're always telling ourselves little lies--probably so that we feel better. i.e: I'm not really that whiney. Or, when I broke that kid's arm it wasn't my fault. Or, I don't tell lies. Or, there's nothing I'm ashamed of.

But the rub of personal narrative?

no one likes a perfect protagonist.


Polyanna? Only interesting because she (SPOILER) gets paralyzed at the end.

Well, I spent today writing about my *own* life. It's something I haven't done for awhile, bad writing teacher that I am.

And the thing is? That imperfect protagonist thing?

It's really hard. Really, really hard.

So I feel your pain, students. Doesn't make the pain any less necessary, unfortunately, but I still feel it.


Audra said...

you are no Polly. Really.

That is why I like your blog. Warts and all. That is why I love ya.

Penelope said...

I just had this thought the other day regarding a story I've been fiddling with for, oh, three or four YEARS now.

You're right: perfect is boring, not to mention awkward when you try to contrive a perfect person in a less than perfect circumstance.