No Longer the Class Star

Will have to write this sans Internet connection because apparently, the person whose connection I am sometimes able to steal is not on-line at the moment. So, I’ll write an entry anyway and save it and try to load it tomorrow. I wanted to write about my class on Tuesday night—this class that might save my life, or at least my writing life because the people taking it are good writers. As I said in the first entry about the class, we have a writing exercise at the beginning and write for about twenty minutes and then the teacher rings a little gong, Ding! And we stop and people volunteer to read their work. This week, the exercise was to write a self-portrait in some way. The woman sitting next to me was carrying a black bag that had some writing on it like, Religion for Reproductive Rights which I thought meant she was a fighter for the unborn. She read her piece first, and I was confused because she was talking about someone at a protest and I didn’t at first know if the protester was pro abortion or not. The first line was something like, "I want to slap Barbara…” It continues on and you realize that Barbara is an 18 year old protester against abortion who shows up at the clinic every day to harass the women coming in for abortions. The piece was really well done; she repeated the first line at different stages, each time complicating it by delving farther into why she had such rage against this girl—revealing that at one time, she was Barbara, very anti-choice, following the beliefs of her parents. So, it was a clever way to write a self portrait by comparing her former self to someone she encounters fairly regularly in her current life. Another woman wrote her piece by going through her stages of life, as a plump baby in a bassinet to a child, adolescent, high school athlete, artist. A piece about personal evolution broken down in stages. Another person wrote a list of identifiers, sister, half sister, orphan, half sister to an orphan. The only guy in class wrote an extremely lyrical and intelligent prose poem about looking into the mirror, started it with something about being Alice in the looking glass and going on to talk about Narcissus and he had a really arresting line about how when we look in the mirror, we see a backward version of ourselves. Another woman wrote about catching a glimpse of herself in a shop store window and wondering at first who that old woman was before realizing it was herself—being shocked that her hair was no longer strawberry blond but white. Another girl made a list of basically all the things she didn’t like about herself, about being too fat to fit through the subway turnstile (she’s not obese, but maybe it happened once that she got stuck) and then she had a shift in her piece where she wrote about Jim Jones, asking the question, What did he see when he looked at himself in the mirror? Every single one was well written and compelling and honest, bar none. Really. I’m not just writing that because I’m afraid someone in my class will find my blog. It’s true. I read last because my piece wasn’t very good, not poetic or deep at all.

“Worst Personal Ad Ever”

SWF, 30-something, though emotionally about 12 years old seeks handsome, funny, self-assured very wealthy man for quick though elaborate wedding and subsequent marriage sans prenup. Prefer someone with a history of heart disease and pattern of premature death among the men in the family.

Me: A seemingly good listener who is usually thinking about something else while you speak and simply waiting for my turn to tell a story that is much more interesting than yours. Have difficulty with intimacy due to a turbulent childhood that I will most likely never get over. Will require you to be outraged and sympathetic when I tell the fish story. Cannot cook, often drink too much, and have been known to steal cigarettes in bars. Am not crazy about babies or spending time with your family. Will fight dirty. Have cheated on math tests in high school and been glad to get away with it. Believe in my heart of hearts that I know better than you.

You: Passionate, but not in any way that would impact what I want to do. Devoted, tall, and preferably with dimples and slight curl to your hair though no frizz. Must be well read but notpretentious, an animal lover, but not an animal hoarder, intelligent and articulate but not a long storyteller, and emotionally available but not too needy. Above all else, must love me.

As an aside, why is Jacqueline Smith the host of a reality show about cutting hair? She looks good, but what is her ethos?


Anonymous said…
you know, i wonder what would happen if you posted the personal ad and turned it into a short story a la augusten burroughs in possible side effects...

Ben said…
isn't the phrase "you can rest assured," not "you can be rest assured"? this troubles me
Aimee said…
i don't know no grammar stuff.