The Artful Dodger

I recently received a guide to new writing classes being offered by an adult education school where I have taken courses.  I was considering registering when I came across the following essay that I had written in one of those classes:

  Jeez, here I am in another writing class!  Why do I torture myself?  And now there’s an assignment due.  What was I thinking?  Alright, alright, I need to calm down.   Just have to do this assignment– write about something that’s changed my life or explains who I am. I’m pretty sure I can do that. I’ll just pick an event or series of events that’s so compelling that it might interest someone other than me. I have to concentrate. But really…this is so unfair.  Everyone in the class is so much younger than I am.  With such a shorter life history it’s going to be so much easier for them to find some seminal event in their (short) lives to write about.  Really not fair at all.  But I’d better forget about that for the moment and get back to the assignment.

     Of course, I’ll have to decide how revealing to be.  I hate that part.  I don’t know anyone here from a hole in the wall.  It makes me very uncomfortable.  We’ve already done a piece of writing in class that was exposing. In the very first class!! Jeez!  And I hate writing in class—- I need my computer; my space; a drink; my aloneness.  But that’s water under the bridge.  So come on—let’s get back to how personal I want to get.  There’s such a fine line between that kind of self-referential writing and group therapy. Group therapy—is there even still such a thing?  I finished with that thirty, maybe thirty-five years ago.  Quite a bust, as I recall. But maybe that was my fault; I was probably way too immature back then. I’ve changed a lot.  And now, I seem to be too mature for this class.  Isn’t that ironic?

                                                 -1-

   Anyway, that hasn’t anything to do with this essay or crossing that line I’m talking about.  And really, as I think about it, it’s not a fine line at all; more like a real thick one.  I’d like to be certain to stay on this side of that line.  So, probably best to err on the side of reticence. That’s it… I’ll be only slightly confessional. Just enough to make it appear that I’m not self-conscious, not concerned with appearances.  So, what significant event should I write about without being overly personal?

     But before I get to that, let’s remember what I’m here for. To “find my voice” in my writing.  But, I think that I’ve already found my voice. I like my voice. I just want to make it a better, more well-organized and interesting one.   A voice that people who aren’t my blood relatives might find engaging. God…. it just now occurs to me that this essay is going to be read aloud. I hate that too.  My voice is so much better when it’s read rather than heard. Damn!

     Okay, now I’m ready.  Should I write about the near financial ruin…or maybe better, the resurrection (mine, not HIS).  Or how about having the kids. Or the marriage and the divorce.   And whose fault was that really? Probably both of ours.  But fifty/fifty?  I doubt it.  Very few things settle out that evenly.  But is it fair to just present my side of it?  Maybe I should interview my ex to get her version. But do I really want to re-visit the pain and the recriminations?   God, this is getting complicated!

     Damn it!  I have to stop right here. And just when it was going so well.  But, the essay is supposed to be no more than two pages.  I really, really hate that too.

                                        The End

                                             -2-

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