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My friends, there is a huge difference.

I'm taking a creative writing class, and night after night I'm forced to consider and critique what amount to personal sob-stories lightly costumed in fluff.

There is a terribly detrimental stream of thought in America today that everything everyone does, everywhere, is worth knowing about. We're all special.

Bullshit. Just because someone had a relationship that went sour doesn't automatically make for a good story. And yet time and time again, I'm stuck reading about pathetic individuals who make foolish choices and then lament them. In class, we refer to these as personal essays.

They strike me as self-help therapy.

Something has changed, ladies and gentlemen. A hundred thousand years ago in Africa, listening to a hunter tell the story of his day might have served some purpose. But do I really need to know that you once knew a girl--who it turns out you didn't _really_ know--and you noticed that her ass cheeks stuck out of her shorts a little? Who, besides the author, can come away from an inane story like that with anything of value?

Even if your story has no clear purpose, or statement, or hidden message--even if you intend it to be pure fluff--at least show me something I can't walk outside and see for myself. Save the journal entries for your journal. Capture people's imaginations and write something original, and just maybe they'll _want_ to read your memoirs somewhere down the road.

Pfilip makes an excellent point, particularly about the egotism which the citizens of the United States--and perhaps the world--demonstrate. To the people who these mundane events affect, they may be as important and as worthwhile as the headline news; however, these people also forget that the range of these events is often extremely limited. I could ramble on about how I had an envigorating, life-changing conversation with an instructor today, but I understand that most people don't give a fuck. To be honest, I don't expect them to, as my daily events--unless unusual or extraordinary--have little relevence to anyone other than myself. In a way, I like that.

To be fair, some people are gifted with writing ability. They can transform seemingly dull activities into incredible adventures painted with life and color. But most people are not. They do not understand that writing is a way to reveal your thoughts and feelings, and that subtlety is key to being an effective writer. The brutal, unpolished nature with which people write about their daily lives leaves a man (or woman) with no choice other than to be bored to tears. People's lives are simply not interesting enough without taking some artistic license.

Case in point: in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces the character Ignatius Reilly writes fantastic day logs filled with fierce, grabbing stories. And those stories are about his days at work. What was--in the reality within the story--dull and unispiring was neither; instead, firey imagery made the mundane seem almost otherworldly. At his core, Ignatius is a writer, and it is apparent in all of his letters, notes, and journals.

When truly writing, it is necessary to exaggerate, to liven up, and to enhance your subject. If you start with something exceptionally bland, you need a considerable amount of skill and effort to improve your prose. This brings us full circle; most people cannot write well about their daily lives (or trials and tribulations or otherwise) because they cannot see what is unexciting about their lives, so no effort is taken to improve their crappy, uneventful journal entries.

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