Saturday, September 8, 2012

On Why I Should Write an Autobiography (And Why I Shouldn't)

Reading a good book always made me want to write a good book. I know that dream is right up there with winning an Oscar for Best Actress, but it somehow seems more feasible than, let's say, growing three more inches.  In the beginning, I dreamed of writing really deep, philosophical works of art. Like Love in the Time of Cholera. Or The Bell Jar. You know, things that teenagers would probably hate, college students would probably salivate on, and pseudo-intellectuals would probably pretend to have read. But upon further research and introspection, I've come to realize that the market is already chock-full of narcolepsy-inducing (yet highly award-winning) literary material, so maybe I should just stick to what I can accomplish in the next 50 years or so.  Something I honestly know about, care about, and can talk about for an indefinite amount of time.  And obviously that something is myself.

You might be thinking, "You're not even famous, why would you write an autobiography?" And there lies the brilliance of it, ladies and gentlemen. I will be the first non-famous person to ever have the audacity to write about my life and actually expect people to read it (much more pay for it). This makes me officially worse than Snooki from Jersey Shore.  She has an MTV show, what do I have to show for myself? Well, I joined a kiddie pageant when I was three, if that counts.

But that's not the point.

The point is the market is already saturated with the same stories. Stories about falling in love, falling out of love, falling in love after getting pregnant, falling in love with a vampire, falling, falling in love with being in love, murder, murdering while falling in love, murdering while falling in love with a vampire; they're all the same. I'm pretty sure someone (read: my mother) would appreciate a fresh story about, well, me.

Contrary to popular belief, my life is actually pretty interesting.  I teach at a well-respected University in the Philippines, and yet I have managed to moonlight as a prostitute to sponsor five homeless kids' elementary education (If you're reading this and you're my superior from the well-respected University, the part about moonlighting as a prostitute is a joke.  Unfortunately, sponsoring five homeless kids' elementary education is, too). Seriously speaking, my life experiences may not have involved snorting cocaine with Kurt Cobain or having midnight trysts with our Barangay Captain in exchange for 24/7 security, but I can say that it can actually fill a 300-page book and it is very, very possible for you to read without inducing yourself into a coma.

My friend who works at an e-publishing house has cajoled me into submitting a 25,000-word novel, saying that I have the writing ability to make something interesting. I told her, "If I had that writing ability, I wouldn't still be using my Dad's credit card to buy me some Starbucks" (read: I actually did not say that; I just wanted to put in something wittier than "Okay sure, I'll try"). Obviously, I didn't take her seriously.  But after listening to Tina Fey's Bossypants, I'm just like "Fuck it. I'm doing it, bitches."

So here goes. I know that it is highly likely that I will never, ever end up with a book publishers would willingly spend their money on, but how will I know if I don't try?

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