Practice Writing a Personal Narrative, OK?

You’ll see why. 

In my AP Language and Composition class, we were analyzing and annotating Gary Soto’s personal narrative about his guilt-ridden experience with a stolen pie; I believe it was an excerpt from A Summer Life, an autobiographical text. As our little project for the weekend, we are to draft our own personal narrative. Of course this is going to take some heavy mental activity and physical stress to figure out just what personal narrative I want to produce – yet the biggest challenge in that is to wrangle my mind earlier than 9 PM on Sunday. So here’s the story of … well, let’s see where this goes.

Well, when I was in first … no, that’s a medical experience. Oh, I know! When I used to be … eww, no that’s nasty. Uhm … well I could tell you about the first time that I ever … nah, that brings back memories too sweet to put on paper. Gosh darn! I think I’m doing a good job of making sure to work on this earlier than after dinner on Sunday! What I haven’t done a good job of … in the past, of course … is documenting those things I find memorable.

You know how girls take pictures all the time? Give them their own camera, and they’re likely to come back with a roll of, if nothing else, canted in-your-face pictures of themselves with their friends at school, at the mall, at a party. And this trait isn’t one that they had to be particularly mature to establish. It might as well have started in kindergarten had our parents entrusted us with hundred-dollar cameras in our hands. Actually, no, scratch that! It probably did start in kindergarten because back then, $10 dollar 35mm disposables were in! So, yes! Our generation got to start taking pictures deliberately at a very young age, and in my inexorable wisdom, I didn’t really partake in, or find attractive, the art of taking pictures of just about everyone and everything around me until I was maybe in 8th grade. Not only that, I only started taking pictures of memorable moments – last days of school, outings to the mall, bike rides in the neighborhood – towards the latter part of that 8th grade year.

My, so far, wordy and overly restated point is that documentation is important. I should’ve been smart enough to realize that taking pictures of all those fun things that happened in my life that I’d like to have a browsable record of now – that party in 6th grade that landed the teacher some flak from the administrators, the first time I went to the mall with friends, the day I Met Your Mother – was going to end up being the most useful thing I would’ve done! How awesome would it be if now, to select the most inopportune, crazy, but ultimately impacting anecdote to write about in my draft, I could turn on the computer or open a scrapbook or enormous plastic tupperware container, look at a corresponding picture, and sit back and relish the overwhelming amount of memories and feelings of, amongst other things, certain nostalgia, as they come into and overtake my mind in an ethereal moment that can only be experienced by a person that kept his history in war torn scrapbooks because he knew it would help him impress his AP English teacher this coming Tuesday, a day before the practice SAT.

Bottom line: document your life.

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