Creative Writing: Personal Narrative

Assignment: Write a personal narrative

I woke up one morning and went to school. My first class was Creative Writing.

"We're going to do something a little different today", said the teacher, a bald man with glasses. "We're going to write a one-hour story, a personal narrative. Perhaps sometime in our lives when we overcame an adversary, or some odd coincidence."

One of the students rolled her eyes.

"Don't roll your eyes. This is a good place, we do our best to try to encourage students. Don't be rolling your eyes."

"Do you accept me?"

"Yes, I still accept you", said the teacher. I accept you. That was our class's motto, according to the teacher, and it became something people would say when someone did or said something that annoyed them. I accept you, and I don't take it personally.

"You know the author Gabriel García Márquez? He's Colombian, he wrote such books as A Chronicle of a Death Foretold." Ah, yes, that book. I had to read that book for a World Literature class, taught by the same teacher. My memories of that class, and of that book, were not exactly pleasant. A person gets killed, and the entire town knew, and they didn't do anything. Not that great for my first high school English class; also it was hard to follow, and I got way behind on the work. There was also that creepy story by him the Spanish class read about him falling in love with someone he had never met who was traveling on the same plane that he was...

The teacher continued. "He would do something like this. He would write one-page stories, from beginning to end. It was a good exercise."

The teacher stopped talking. It was fifteen minutes into class, so there were actually only forty-five minutes left in class. I thought about what I should write about. Most things in my life were either too personal for me to write comfortably about them (at least not in a place that could be read by the teacher, or by classmates looking over my shoulder) or they were too mundane (I woke up, I ate, I got dressed, I went to school, etc.). The first topic that came to mind was, of course, this class. I have, once before, written a personal narrative about writing a personal narrative (actually it was a personal essay), but that was different, and it was for a different class that I had taken a long time ago from a different teacher. In that one I had written about my thought process behind choosing the topic, and what topics I had thought about and why I didn't want to write about them, and I had entitled it "Why I can't think of anything to write about". This time I decided to focus more on the class than on the essay, so I started with the teacher talking at the beginning of class.

After I had been writing a while, the teacher's voice interrupted. "You're not writing", he said. It was directed at another student. I ignored his comment and continued my writing.

After several minutes, I got to the end of writing about the teacher's pre-class lecture and to the place where I write about me writing. This could get oddly meta, I thought, so I decided to write about a previous story I'd written that was similar to this one, rather than simply writing about writing this story. After writing about that, and after I had noted an interruption that had occurred, it did start to get oddly meta. I looked at the clock. I had forty-five minutes left. Could I get caught up by the end of the hour?

After I wrote about the meta stuff (which only took about five minutes), the teacher started talking to the class, and asked each person in turn if we would be done by the end of the hour. I shrugged.

Some of the other students finished and started talking. The person next to me was sharing the opening paragraph of his story with other people, although I didn't get to see it until the class had already finished. I don't quite remember what it was, but it was something non-realistic, like a shadow-demon rising or something.

As I was frantically trying to finish my own story (which I, of course, could not quite finish during class, because then I couldn't write about the end of class), the teacher dismissed the class. As the people filed out of the classroom, the teacher caught their attention. "Remember", he said to the people walking out the door, who turned to look at him. "I accept you!"