Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bushel Basket or Lampstand: Which Do You Choose?

A while back, my professor set up conferences for everyone in the class. This was the first, and most likely last, real bit of constructive criticism I was going to receive in the class. However, when I got there, my 12-page memoir got torn apart for all of the wrong reasons.

Memoirs are stories about their writer’s life. They’re not autobiographies, but they tell about shorter sequences of the writer’s life—a story of growth. My memoir was about growth in my religious life. However, in the conference, my professor told me not to write about that. She said that not everyone could relate to it, so to pick something more human. I could understand if she wanted me to open the memoir up to a broader audience, but when she suggested that I just take God out completely and, if I couldn’t, then “just call it something else,” I was more than just a little upset.

This was my life. God was (and still is) in it. I referred to Him as God. He’s going to be in there. She spent several class periods before telling us to not be afraid to write what we felt at that time. This meant, if you cursed a lot at the time of your life you’re writing about, don’t be afraid to put curse words in the dialogue. “The point of non-fiction is to reveal truth. So get us as close to the real thing as possible.” It seems she was only talking about curse words and vulgar terms for her lady parts.

I rewrote the story to bring out a theme more people could relate to because I didn’t really have enough time to explain the concept of God to people who refuse to admit they’d never heard of God (she knew). But this all brings me back to my last post. A person should not hide who he/she is—this is the land of tolerance, or it’s supposed to be at least.

A lot of people hold their religion close, which can be a good thing. But sometimes, we hold it a little too close and don’t let it show through. Remember that candle song from the younger years? This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it freakin’ shine! A person cannot say they are part of a religion and then not act on it. If you slap a Ferrari sicker on a VW, is it then a Ferrari? No. It’s the same with people. No matter what a person labels him/herself, unless they act the part, they’re not really Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, or whatever their label is.

This does not mean that you have to go out and force your religion down other people’s throats. It also doesn’t meant that you have to go out and put your religion on display to show everyone how great and fabulous you are. It does mean that you have to live your faith. You can say you believe, but unless it’s shown in the way you live, you’re nothing but talk.

If anyone has any requests for topics, feel free to leave a comment below with your ideas.

Fauxhead. This Little Light of Mine. 2011. Fauxhead: My Pursuit of Art. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.