I Didn’t Really Screw Your BoyfriendPart of: Literati
Breakfast: toasted pumpkin bread with cream cheese
I didn’t really understand the power of writing in the first person until my college writing fiction workshop. I work shopped a story about a girl who had a past abortion. It was a dark story. After I read the story in class, everyone was silent. How often does this happen in a workshop class? Almost never. At first I was horrified. I didn’t want people thinking I’d had an abortion when I hadn’t. I decided to write every story from then on in the third person. I was younger, 19 or 20.
Years later I have fully embraced this notion and have used it to my advantage. I guess my ego had to dissolve a bit. All that yoga has done something. I don’t care anymore if people think all my first person stories are me. My favorite teacher, Keith Abbott, once told us that to write about yourself, you have to romanticize yourself. I have to see myself as a character. I don’t know if this illustrates I can romanticize myself.
I went through a faze where I wrote fiction with some erotic elements. Maybe I still do, I don’t know. My aborted novel has sex in it. (I will salvage some of my novel and probably make it a long short story or novella.) Sex is interesting to write about because it’s very revealing. Also, we are always dealing with some kind of sexual tension in our lives. I write what I write. My characters sometimes want to have sex and I let them. Oh, I know that “Tiffany” and “Kate” from my column only talk about sex. Maybe they are just teases? Tune in to find out.
I’ve never written pure erotica. At one point I read a lot of Marguerite Duras, Anais Nin, Colette and Henry Miller. They are always inspiring. At 21, I was dating this one guy (another writer) and one of his friends read a first person story I had written where the characters have sex. The friend asked what I was like in bed. This cracked me up and I did have one of those aha-writing-is-power moments. It was a big step in getting over my fear of first person writing.
Everything that I write in this journal/blog is 100% non-fiction. Wait, did I really want to say that? It’s kind of scary. I don’t have the energy to make my life more dramatic here using fiction techniques. I do censor myself here, but never censor my characters. There are certain subjects I won’t write about here because I believe in privacy and don’t want to hurt certain people. The most easily categorized subject I won’t write about is my love life—not that you care to peek. The curtains can only open so far.