My Preferred Genre

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.

-M.L.

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