Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Thin Line between Autobiography and Fiction

You read a blog post of an old friend who you still find vaguely interesting in a boy-girl way, in which the author describes their likes and dislikes regarding the opposite gender. You find yourself suddenly and irrationally wondering what you could do to make them like you *that way*.

You skip over to another website, where a young man has linked to his bride's blog. You click over to hers also. You look at each person's profile photo, and imagine them together. How they interact. What their voices sound like. How they make each other laugh.

Someone emails out of the deep dark blue of your past. You remember what their kiss tasted like, although, had you any sense in those heady days, you would never have taken the liberty to find out in the first place.

And when you sit down at your keyboard, you think, "How can I convey this swirl of memory and emotion without slipping into melodrama?"

You try wording the rumination in the third person. "He" felt this way, and remembered the time way back when. "She" smiled as she recalled the way his hand felt in hers. But you know, nose-plainly, that every reader will decipher the code. No one will be fooled by your chicanery. They will interpret the "he's" and "she's" as "you's." Every writer writes what they know, and every reader knows that writers do so.

So where does that leave you? You fumble for the answer. You fume. You want to describe how the flower you see blooming in other people's gardens make you wish for buds in your own. You try to explain the idle feeling of wanting every person you meet to fall in love with you, and how whenever someone describes their perfect match, you naturally work down the list to see if you qualify.

But you can't. Not even if you put your voice in some character's throat.

You decide against writing about it at all. You realize there's no way to express these thoughts without coming across as needy or self-pitying, despite your protestations to the contrary.

You close out the "new post" window and cruise over to Facebook to see who's updated their "status" in the last hour.

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