Monday, December 20, 2010


Well, I got my manuscript "evaluated" and have, again, been admonished because: produce a great autobiography, one must tell their story the way Hollywood tells it. With flare. With drama. With excitement. With suspense. Personal stories are not merely sequences of events; they have an overall form, which requires [quoting Aristotle] ...a beginning, a middle, and an end. (And not necessarily in that order!)

An autobiography, by definition, is a story that narrates the course of the author's life, so how can there truly be an "end" until the author is dead? And how can the author write about the end of their life if they are dead?

A memoir, on the other hand, only relates a portion of the author's history. Beginning the story with my birth (and that of my twin brother) was essential to give the reader a brief introduction to my personal family background and logically follows my development into womanhood. Since I'm still alive and kicking, I had to "end" the book somewhere; otherwise, it would never be finished.

The evaluator bourgeoisly prefers the modern, cookie-cutter "flashback" method of relating a tale, and goes on to state:

Perhaps if the author had started at the end. Showed herself to be a sane and thriving person [who, me??] and then went back through how she got to where she is today [struggling to hold an English-only job in a bilingual wasteland, wasting countless hours volunteering to play wannabe-DJ, and still taking abuse, now from a total stranger] it might be more palatable.

The evaluator also expresses disappointment that there is very little humour. How funny is it to have your life threatened, to be raped, assaulted, stalked to the point of arson, repeatedly financially abused, and then ultimately cast into an apparently permanent state of depression and paranoia, even after several decades have passed?

Believe me, I have tried, with relentless effort, to "get over it" and get on with my "pursuit of happiness". The fact that I am still alive to tell the tale is proof in itself. The fact that I have not yet succeeded in these efforts only reinforces why the story needs to be told. Because it's not just mine; it can be claimed by any and every person (but particularly women) who has ever suffered from abuse, violence, or even simply a lack of respect as a human being.

Eventually I will find someone in the publishing industry who understands how it's not only possible but common for an abused person to be stripped of any emotion other than a lingering but silent rage (but not much sense of drama or excitement, the initial instigator).


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