Just because you don’t see posts here doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. In fact, for the first time since high school, I’ve started writing stories. Well, one story in particular. Autobiographical, I find, is a natural form of storytelling for me. It helps that I haven’t read anything before that I’ve related to so deeply. It’s when it strays into social territory when I get nervous.
If I’m being honest, fiction – short, long, well-written or otherwise – used to transform me into the proverbial cat-up-in-a-tree. When I get an idea though (they often come at inconvenient times), it seems to be easier. The narrative happens as though it was hibernating somewhere deep behind feminist theories and literary criticism. It’s when I start thinking, pulling apart the story and thinking about what kind of biases or stereotypes or social conditions I want to show in my writing, that it gets staggered and arduous to write, and later, read.
But the past few days I haven’t been able to get this character out of my head. She’s taking shape, the people around her are slowly growing attributes and imperfections like skins and bones. I realize that even though I have an image of where she lives all drawn out in my head (heavily based on the apartment I used to live in, mixed with a few assumptions based on context, mixed with all the apartments all immigrant have ever lived in the GTA), it is not drawn out for the readers. I want to draw them pictures with adjectives, but I am trying to restrain myself as well. Then again, this is a first draft, and all the writing advice I’ve ever read states to just write what comes and edit later. Then again, fuck advice – I will do what works for my story.
The fact that I have a story taking shape is thrilling. I have adrenaline pumping through the joints of my fingers so much so that in my mind my hands are swollen with inspiration. When I listen to lectures now about subjectivity in autobiographies, or write about realism in graphic novels (yep, despite everything I rant about, I love my program), I feel like little bits of those essays, those lectures, make their way into my story. Whether it’s a concept that’s so perfectly worded as to describe inner dialogue or a term that my character would be familiar with, it all bleeds into these words that I’m writing.
I’ve been struggling with the idea of autobiography because of discussions about subjectivity in my autobiography class. At the end of the year, in April, I have to give a presentation about a novel (James Frey’s,[whose last name I always thought would be pronounced like The Fray, like “a frayed edge”, and instead sounds like fry] A Million Little Pieces) and compare it to my understanding of autobiography. I feel like every work of fiction is autobiographical to a degree because it comes from the mind of an author, which holds his or her memories and experiences. Then again, non-fiction autobiographies are, I think, impossible to write objectively. Subjectivity is at the heart of how a writer writes about his or her own life: it is the story of your life, through your eyes, not someone else’s.
I haven’t come to a conclusion about autobiography, but I know that my life influences my writing – often more so than my imagination does. And yet, I call most of it fiction.
PS. I’m a little hyped up on coffee now, so I hope this makes sense. I feel bad for not writing for 2 weeks and wanted to do a little inside look into my brain, as well as updating my future self on what I’ve been doing for the past 2 weeks, apart from lying comatose on my bed and aching about being in 4th year.