As a new eight-year-old writer, I swore off ever writing “boring adult” stuff, like you know, memoirs and realistic fiction. I hope a quick glance at this blog indicates why this is ironic: I now devote most of my cranium to dreaming up teen stories that reflect life, and I chronicle my life on the internet. Occasionally, I even try my hand at some personal memoirs.
I remember complaining to my mother when she signed me up for a Creative Nonfiction class instead of a fiction one. “I don’t want to write boring stories!” I whined. At the time, I was determined to become a J.K. Rowling, a Christopher Paolini, a Cornelia Funke—why would anyone choose to write about plain-old real life over mystical and fantastic worlds? If I was more daring, more outgoing, more exciting—maybe. But, fortunately, my life was comfortable and stable. I was convinced that I was too boring to write about.However, as I’ve matured, I slowly realized that reality isn’t at all bland. In fact, fiction is dependent on reality: I realized that the most dramatic and most interesting story is history. I realized that the organic and hilarious dialogue between my friends and I was too good to not write down. I realized, once I began to deeply understand and listen to people, how complex and scarred we all are—most fictional characters cannot compare to how insecure and contradictory real folk are.
Admittedly, I still don’t enjoy writing personal memoirs. I find it excruciating to extract a story from myself, to examine my flaws, to refine something as unyielding as my guts into art. But, after a painful and uncomfortable struggle, I have the product that makes it all worth it: pieces of paper that verbalize my experience. Pieces of paper that make myself more comprehensible to others and me. Pieces of paper that make people laugh, then pause, then think. I finish a memoir with more clarity about my past and character. There is nothing pleasant about scrutinizing myself and facing the conclusions I make—but pleasure is not the same thing as relief, and writing is not about pleasure.