The Beginning of the Story

The Christmas break has really allowed me to open up my mind and commit to writing this autobiography that the Capuchins are asking for. Worried about details or what stories to tell, it took a friend to realize that it's not about the "good or the bad" that really matters.

Over the past week, I've struggled with a way to begin this paper. Should I merely write a dry, timeline starting from birth and ending in the present? Should I write a frame story, centering everything around an important moment in my life? Several times I thought of just starting the paper like The Jerk: "I was born a poor black child."

The OFM Caps might get the joke, but it's probably not I don't think they asked for humor in the autobiography.

Tonight, in an attempt to finally get things moving, I decided to write my story in a way that chronicles the important times in my life, gives the factual history that they want to know, and allows me to reflect on my life and explain how these things have affected who I am and what I've gained.

Instead of writing one 3-5 page paper, I'm making 5 different one-page stories about an important time in my paste. The first I've composed centers around my graduation from high school, specifically when I performed at the commencement ceremony. The next is a story of when I was 9 and I watched my mother stand up to an abusive boyfriend. Other times in my life I'm contemplating are: the break-up with my last girlfriend, waking up from a seizure, spending Easter at a rest stop in Missouri (when I was working over the road), a day of working at the poker room, or hearing The Summons being played in church this past year.

Now that I've really gotten into writing this thing, there's not enough pages to cover everything I want to talk about. From initially thinking I had a dull life to trying to fit in as much as I can, I'm glad I took several days to really sit and consider my past. By telling my story in 5 short stories or chapters, I feel I am in touch with my true nature: a storyteller. While this type of autobiography may be unconventional for their purpose, perhaps it will show the Capuchins one of my greater gifts: to touch others with words and stories from my life.

Perhaps I'm just cheating and writing 5 self-reflective blog entries for this required paper. If that is the case, then let it be so. One thing that I've rediscovered during this discernment process is my love of writing, both fiction and non. Perhaps I will pick up my guitar again as well. Perhaps I'll rekindle that love of music I had before chasing more materialistic goals in life.

Either way, that is my story and I've finally find a way to start it. If God sees fit to inspire me in unusual ways, I'm not going to argue or try to fight it. Let's just hope it meets the requirements of what the Capuchins are looking for.

Enough of a break. Hope you all had a good Christmas. I have work and writing to do all weekend.

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1 Response to The Beginning of the Story

December 28, 2007 at 10:43 PM

The writing I am happiest with is written when I am writing for myself.. for a cause driven from inside. The minute I find myself writing in a style or for a purpose just so others can see, it no longer becomes genuine.

You said something that stuck out to me. You wrote "Let's just hope it meets the requirements of what the Capuchins are looking for." If this is a discovery "assignment", then let it be just that -- put pen to paper as it were and offer to them something else no one else can give. One of the hardest parts is keeping up with how fast your heart wants to tell its story once it has its chance. Whatever you write may satisfy their requirement, but will it satisfy yours?

Or maybe put another way, something Ive been working on:
A man who experiences many things in his life is merely experienced; a man who understand what he has experienced is wise.