Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How I learned to write about how I learned to ride.

I'm not entirely sure how this is going to work out. I mean, I don't know how I'm supposed to start writing this, and I don't know if it's a good or a bad idea to write about it on the blog. But, basically, I have another story idea. It's a story that I want to be taken from my childhood memories, but I want it to be an actual story that follows a structure, has identifiable characters and, perhaps, a unifying point. This is my goal. It seems simple, but it's proving difficult. I want to write a structured story with a point.

Since I usually do the confessional essay stuff, though, my first impulse is to write the memory like that, and that would get the story out there into the readers' hands. But it wouldn't show growth in method or growth in attempt.

If I were to write the story the way I usually write things, which would be the story of how I learned to ride a bike and how it taught me to apologize, then I'd fashion myself in the perpetual role of victim or observer that I usually choose, and I don't want to do that. There's a possibility that I could actually grow this story into something better and bigger, if I ever actually finish it. (Have I ever finished anything?)

Still, because the stories usually come from memory, there's no need for a clear timeline. If the story is more formally structured, then the timeline would have to become more concrete, wouldn't it?

Would the story lose impact if I jumble it all together? Would there be glaring fact-check issues if I compressed the timeline, which occurred over a couple years, into a single summer? If I wrote a portion of the story from my father's point-of-view, just in an attempt to define a character other than myself, can I keep him layered and vague? Would my own personal view of him paint him as someone unfeeling and cold?

In the story would I be 8 or 12? Would I compress it to something that made sense? Am I capable of doing this?

I've written the essay version of how I learned to ride a bike before; it was one of the first confessional essay-type things I ever really wrote. I wrote it in 1995 for a penpal of mine. His name was Patrick Flumignan, and he was in Canada. Now, his name isn't that, and he isn't there anymore.

I don't even have the rough draft anymore. This story is old. So, to retell it, I need to do something fun with it and different with it. I want it to still be funny. But I also want it to be better than the stuff I usually do.

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