Write an intricate, confessional, or embarrassing essay
Today, there is an obsession with reality and this is reflected in the great number of TV shows and series such as Survivor, The Apprentice, Hell’s Kitchen, Shark Yank etc. The success of these “reality” shows goes to show that life is made up of different components and is not a neat narrative as previously implied in conventional novels and fiction stories. This is captured by the statement: "As a work gets more autobiographical, more intricate, more confessional, more embarrassing, it breaks into fragments" (Shield 308). This statement is true because people are bored with the ordered fiction stories and TV shows, which do not reflect what truly happens in day to day life. This paper critically examines this statement and provides an example of an embarrassing essay to illustrate the meaning of: "As a work gets more autobiographical, more intricate, more confessional, more embarrassing, it breaks into fragments."
Real stories, which are intimate, confessional or embarrassing, carry different elements and ideas which lend themselves to various interpretations. They do not consist of a series of events leading up to one great revelation, but are a series of interestingly disparate and divergent revelations in themselves. This is because life is not prepackaged along narrative lines, which are always strictly followed but it consists of many points of diversion. This means that a confessional, embarrassing and intricate story presents the truth about life in a better manner than a reported fictional story presenting imaginations of what life is about. This is true because of the very nature of difference in characters between individuals, which is expressed in different reactions to different situations. Life is not a coherent, measurable whole which concludes in a major single revelation but it comes in bits and pieces which change characters, decisions and outcomes. This fact is illustrated through the following confessional story.
I am sitting on my front porch thinking about what will be happening later today: I will be taking my five year old son and seven year old daughter for a swim. I can’t help but feel a sense of apprehension at the thought of having to see them attempt something I never quite became used to. More worrying to me is the likelihood of one of them failing or drowning. I have never quite known how to swim. I can float for thirty seconds but after that I just sink slowly to the cold floor of the pool. I have been to schools where swimming was taught but no. I remember our teacher in school shouting “move your legs! Move your legs!” as my classmates and I clung onto the rails of the swimming pool and oscillated our feet at the surface of the water. It was a great lesson on how to move on the water and attempt to float. The previous teacher, Mr. Smith had drowned in this very pool just a month to this lesson. That, coupled with my fear of large masses of water became a great impediment to my learning.
Here comes my son now. He is looking excited as he runs around the porch barefoot. He reminds me of myself, learning new things, feeling new textures for the first time and tasting new things: soil, grass, butterflies and even unmentionable stuff. He is wearing a flowered shirt and green shorts. The shirt looks a bit inappropriate I think it has a large marijuana leaf at the back. Something a hippy might wear. He is a naughty one, this one, always breaking things. But aren’t all boys? My daughter is more mannered. How could I have fathered such a composed and mature creature? She is asking me what time we shall be leaving the house and whether we should carry lunch money. We are getting closer and closer to the dreaded moment but I find solace in the little things I am currently experiencing. My wife Carol is in the kitchen putting together sandwiches for everyone. We have been married for thirteen years. Yes, I know. I also get surprised together with those people I tell this. She is a wonderful wife and her cooking is always delectable. Maybe it is responsible for my ever expanding gut but hey! I am not complaining. Her favorite color is blue and this can be seen all over the house and in her car. It reminds me of the ocean and Oh! It reminds me that soon, I will be taking my children out for a swim.
More importantly, it reminds me that cannot swim. She will not be coming to our little get away but how I wish she would. She is an excellent swimmer. She swam competitively in college and even has a few trophies on the mantelpiece. 17-nil is how I like to think of her achievements in comparison to mine. This is a little bit harsh but it is the reality I have to try and avoid every day. Remembering this gives me a bad feeling in the stomach. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to the moon and back. However, her achievements and her favorite color remind me of my failures and numerous “miss-hits” I almost became a doctor; I almost bought a Ferrari in college; I almost became rich but sold my shares too early; I almost became drafted to the NBA; I almost learnt how to swim. I cannot swim.
Life is made up of different splinters of, which do not necessarily lead to a big revelation. The more biographical, intricate and confessional a work becomes, it splinters. Life is not ordered or structured along narrative lines which must be strictly followed. This means that the different constituent happenings in life affect decisions, directions and outcomes. This is reflected in the confessional story above where different reflections and memories lead to fragments of ideas and plot. Different events are interwoven into each other rather than being one continuous stream of happenings. This should be considered in various shows and literary works to avoid the “unreal” unidirectional narrative type of work.
Shields, David. Reality hunger: a manifesto. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Print.