Hundreds and Thousands and Millions

In true attention seeking style I emailed one of my stories to a friend a few days ago.

I get mixed up between the autobiographical ones I write for Unmadeup and the real story ones. Or I don’t get mixed up. I write just the same, (in the same “tone” or “style”) but I put real names in some stories and not in others. But the real names I put into the Unmadeup ones are madeup names: I’m just consistent with them.

I haven’t decided yet.

I have never decided how far I want to be autobiographical in what I write, or how far I want to admit to being autobiographical. It is not really a decision that is up to me. I am too lazy to work hard on something I am not interested in, and I am only interested in things I am interested in.

I’m possibly a product of my education, such as it is, but I do think there’s something dodgy about getting your red pen out and marking everything out in a piece of writing – labeling it as biography or fiction. There isn’t an either/or to me, although I’m just as curious about the life-origins of other people’s writing as I am about my own. All the stories I like to read and write are autobiographical in some sense – they are truthful in terms of feeling, if not events.

Still, when it comes to writing fiction I want to think that telling the truth is faking.

Narrators are my thing – putting on silly voices, and listening to the voices other people have to put on when they are telling their stories, or stealing stories that belong to other people. My kind of performing arts.

My friend, when he read the story, said – it is like you keep altered or partly-imaginary versions of yourself in your head that you command to write your stories for you – which I found comforting, exactly right, and uncannily, horribly terrifying all at the same time.
It made me think of maggots and spider’s nests and the horrible, throat-clogging feeling I would have when I was younger and at church, hearing drivel about god knowing how many hairs there were on your head or the worlds that god has made being as numberless as the grains of sand on the beach (for more horror, click here).

And that is what the crowd picture is about, even though it makes me feel a bit sick to look at it. I wonder if we all have these crowds of people inside. I’m pretty sure there are hundreds of Jenn doppelgangers, although whether they are at my command or not is open to question. They are the reason why I am so indecisive and fickle and evasive. I’m almost – we’d have to take a vote – certain of it.
Being able to understand lots of people’s points of view is useful if you want to get on with people. I’m not so interested in that. Having lots of points of view and being disinterestedly unfaithful to them all is what makes it possible for me to write.

And is probably very irritating. Sometimes when I am trying to talk about what I am thinking I hear myself saying ‘but on the other hand’ a lot, which is a phrase I hate, and makes me think about Durga.

Handy, though: some of those Jenns are bound to have really great shoes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *