It is not without some irony when I write that I generally don’t like creative non-fiction that is in the first person and about that person. Come to think of it, I generally don’t like first person fiction either.
I see the irony because I am writing a blog all about ME and it is in the first person.
I have written a few articles for the local newspaper (which now tells me they have no more money for freelancers. But then again ‘my’ editor is away for two weeks. I seem to have a semi-direct line to the new host of CBC Radio’s Q who is in Vancouver (until he moves to Toronto) but the paper’s editor there while the managing editor is away seemed not to care. Hmmmm. We carry on) that have been in the first person and I guess in a sense creative non-fiction.
So, yes, some hypocrisy perhaps.
Oh wait, no, I don’t dislike all first person. I love first person medical stories and also, of course, certain blogs. I often search out blogs of people who have medical stories which is again ironic because I can’t sit with people in the ER without nearly fainting. T. experienced this when she started to vomit in an ER waiting room and myself and every other person in that waiting room except C. who thank god sat with T. and rubbed her back, skedaddled out.
“She seems sick,” noted another waitee to me as we huddled behind a divider.
“Yep,” I said.
“She does not sound well.”
“Migraine,” I said.
“Oh, no,” she said.
Today is of course as we know another unemployed day. I’ve had a few subbing days lately which is helpful but not enough to exist correctly. Anyway, someone is picking me up at the skytrain tonight to go to a Vineyard home group that I actually really like in many ways but I was bored and antsy at home so walked downtown to Chapters and had a look through the latest Creative Non-Fiction magazine (there are tables and chairs nearby so I don’t think Chapters hates this and soon the store will be closed and turned into a giant SportChek). Most stories were in the first person and started with things like (not verbatim here) “My father liked to fish in the swamp” or “I was in college last year when Emma told me she no longer loved me.” Meh. The great thing about creative non-fiction is that everyone has a story. The not great thing about creative non-fiction is that everyone has a story. And indeed, myself included. It is hard at times to get more navel gazing than I am. A few years ago I was walking in Trout Lake Park with M. and bemoaning (my now dearly departed and I’m still griefy) mother’s recent self-obsession. This stopped M. in her tracks and she bent over in half laughing.
“The irony,” she said, in between wiping her tears and chortling.
“Okay, okay now,” I said.
I bring this up with her regularly.
“You are never going to let me forget that.”
“That’s a bit self-obsessive.”
M. and I have been friends for holy smokes almost 27 years and I always appreciate people who have stuck with me that long. T. and I have been friends a bit less of time and C. and I more but less as we only reconnected about four years ago or three or something. Add in a G. and that is a bit of my core people. I often want to buy them a car or toilet paper from Costco to say thank you for sticking around despite my this and my that and the time I screamed at you on Kitsilano Beach on my birthday. That kind of thing.
Oops, tangent. I tangent a lot.
What was I saying? Oh yes, so on the whole, I don’t care for these first person creative non-fiction pieces unless they are talking about themselves medically or psychiatrically. Otherwise, it can often read as self-involved stuff I don’t really care about and why is it in the magazine. Blogs I get but published stuff,. hmmmm.
I have no idea how to write that without sounding a.) ironic b.) condescending, neither of which I mean.
But I do love a good story or memoir about time spent psychiatrically ill or with some medical condition, although I can no longer read stories of people who are dying or watching people dying. That hits too close to home, too soon.
One day I want to call up and find out if my mom died in her sleep or not but I can’t seem to do this yet. Feels like too much. I’m not sure how long records are kept though.
This often happens when I am unstructured and also when I oversleep or undersleep. Two nights ago it was undersleeping and last night/this morning was oversleeping. Eeek. Undersleep, oversleep and no people to interact with.
Did I all ready mention I have a bit of subbing next week? Just a few days and that is again, well, it. But I feel more relaxed knowing that I have that. Mind you, I tend to get sick around about the second day, what up with that?
I’m starting to realize that I will be underemployed for a long time before the work peters out forever. Hmmm.
I’ve cut way back on the art therapy – to like twice a month really. Finances mainly. When I am there, I seem to paint a lot of crosses. A.T. would like me to write about the significance of this but I don’t know if I can write about things that are that deep. I tried to explain it but I don’t know how successful I was. Also, I paint crosses partly because I can’t, well, paint, and crosses are pretty straight forward.
I do know that regular prayer – either alone or with others – shifts something in me, something I often only notice several days later. Very subtle usually. Tricky, because I spent years in my 20s and early 30s trying to pray to lessen my self-hate but it was never touched. Like anything I guess. I did send the A.T a poem by Walter Brueggemann. Anne Lamott often gets it right too although I’ve found bit too Oprah-fying of her brand the last few years but she’s gotta do what she’s gotta do.
Okay, apologies for my tangenting and continued first-person-ness.