At first I was unsure about writing a memory-based narrative for Brevity‘s flash nonfiction contest. I was most worried about choosing an interesting topic to write about without getting overly personal. Before it was even discussed in class, I already knew I didn’t want to write about anything traumatic or too heavy. But when I sat down at my computer, everything that popped into my head were things too personal that I didn’t want to put to paper — much less condense into 500 words (or less). Finding my topic was probably the hardest and longest part of writing the memory narrative.
As the deadline approached, I realized that anything worth writing about would always have a personal quality to it. So, with that acceptance, I decided that–if I couldn’t avoid something personal–I would at least write about something universal: chemistry…that love-at-first-sight sort of experience that almost everyone has had.
Even with that strategy in mind, I still wasn’t sure if I would be able to write about chemistry in a new and interesting way. I knew I wanted it to be humorous — even if it was a silent humor, only quietly acknowledged within the reader’s mind. With this goal set, I decided I would begin with a scene that’s unusual for people who are attracted to each other: the rejection; and with that my writing began to flow.
When I finally finished, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with what I had written. It was pretty funny to me, but I was worried about what others thought…Not whether they thought the writing wasn’t fluid or interesting, but more on whether they would be offended or insulted. Even though, the topic was kind of a common aspect…I had friends who were like this. As I thought more about it, the more I leaned toward scrapping it.
It wasn’t until the most recent peer readings that I became really comfortable with the content, deciding not to scrap it, and becoming excited about actually submitting it for the contest. Their feedback about it being funny (without any introductory or extra information from me before-hand) allowed me to see that I had achieved my goal.
The experience of seeing, hearing, and reading the effects of my writing in real-time, right after someone’s reading, was extremely energizing and motivating.