Putting the Personal into my Prose

I’ve started writing about me lately. An entirely thrilling topic to be sure, you may or may not have noticed, but it’s also odd and unfamiliar. Until now my writing had been along the lines of speculative short stories. They were sometimes funny, sometimes literary and they sometimes had talking dogs in them, but they were never about me (not in the straightforward, practically nonfiction sort of way. I’m sure there were elements of me in every character but that’s not what I’m talking about). Anyway, the point is, I wrote fiction or about fiction and now I’m writing about me. It feels a bit icky and incestuous but I can’t stop.

Recently things happened in my personal life that I’m not ready to disclose but probably will soon (It’s not too big a deal I just want to keep it mine for a little longer). At the same time I had a short story due for uni but I couldn’t pull my mind away from myself long enough to think about what I would write. Inevitably I wrote about what was going on with me right at that moment. Because of the aforementioned ‘icky’ feeling I masked the story in fiction, used third person and subbed in personal pronouns for character names. As such I was able to distance myself enough from the topic to get it out. I got 80% for it and felt a whole lot better after the catharsis.

Then I returned to my fiction but there was this one little word niggling at the back of my mind, “I, I, I, I, I, I,” and it wasn’t the ‘I’ of some imagined alien cyborg who had to tell the story of his people through his own eyes. It was my ‘I’ and it wanted to talk about me. I wanted to write about my friends, my childhood, my bad dates, job hunts, family, dogs, writing, movies. Everything in the world but through my eyes. Eyes I’d previously reserved for academic essays and brief informative articles or reviews.

I fought this change at first but think I’ve accepted it now. Writing is the thing. Which ‘I’ I use is secondary. I am eating up blogs like Emily Magazine by Emily Gould now and I’m writing about my childhood. This blog may become something of diary for a while and, I hope, a space where I can say the thing you’re not supposed to say or think, where the uncomfortable and unpleasant can be funny or painful but never ignored. Here goes nothing…

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