2.09.2006

So, for those either a) not in the class or b) actively ignoring me (and you know who you are, but you don't know that I know who you are because you're not reading this. Because you're actively ignoring me. And you know who you are), there's a English 102 class at the University of Tennessee which is using my book, website and blog as course materials.

Yeah, I know... I fret for the future of our youth as well.

Anyway, one of their recent homework assignments was to write a story in "the style of Joe The Peacock". When I read this on the course syllabus, this... Feeling? Emotion? Fear? ran over me. I'm not exactly sure how to describe it right...

I think it might probably be best described as the same feeling I got right before my very first ever bungee jump. Basically, I looked down the barrel of something that could quite possibly kill, maim or scar me, and most certainly could scare me to the point of losing all bowel control. BUT IT'S FUN AT THE SAME TIME!

Paradox!

*blink*

Then I started thinking... "Do I even have a style? And if so, what the hell is it?!?" I've been reading my own writing for, oh, going on 17 years now (I've been keeping a little journal notebooky thing since I was about 12 or so) and really, they only style I am aware of is that I write the same way I talk. So basically, it's just my voice, committed to paper (or a computer screen).

So, when I read some of the stories that the class participants made, my brain started to vibrate and my vision blurred and all I could see was blue - much like a computer being rebooted. I was like "AHHHHHHH! I DO! I DO HAVE A STYLE!" And right there, on the screen, I was reading MY voice, but it was saying words that weren't coming out of my own head! It's really, really wicked and freaky and alarming, all at once. I think I now know what it's like to hear a disembodied voice in your head.

But it was a good thing. It made me aware that there was this... I dunno. I can't call it a rut, because I don't feel stuck in it... But there's definitely an identifiable quality to the things I write. The style and manner in which I write them pretty much identify them as mine, I think. So, to challenge myself, I decided to do this latest story (the one about Hines Ward being such an amazing athlete that he turned a boring story from my past into the only story I have about football that's really worth telling) in a completely different style. I think it works... It's definitely different, but still me. I dunno.

And the journal entries and stories I read were all really quite good! I laughed (out loud, even) at some of them - and I will say that some REALLY pegged my "style" really well - which is impressive, because their stories were good IN SPITE of the fact that they're imitating a goofball.

So there's that. I don't quite know what point I'm trying to make here, if any. But that's blogging for you - sometimes (most times), you just get random stuff.