Oh, it just keeps getting better, folks! Not necessarily my writing, mind you. But certainly the entertainment value of the characters in my class. Allow me to go around the room:
1. Me. Nutty as a fruitcake. My writing? Too much about me, not enough about the subject. Or rather, the subject as seen by me, rather than the subject as it is. Kind of a metaphor for how I roll, isn't it? Sad to say. But I'm havin' fun!
2. Next to me, Cloris Leachman. Sans the humor.
3. Next to her, Lewis Black's unfunny cousin. Best exchange of the night from this man who has taken four Memoir classes?
"I have literally no memories of my life. I don't remember anything, so I tend to make stuff up."
Teacher: "Please don't say that out loud to anyone else, because that's not memoir, that's fiction."
Him: "Ah, it's all the same." Okaaaay. Just don't piss off Oprah with your lying, okay?
4. Next, the Shaman. With a simultaneously effeminate yet overly-deep voice. He's had so many professions I can't begin to list them, but "shaman" is one that I recall from his bio in the first class. Leading me to wonder, how does one become a shaman? Are there courses for that too? And can you decide, as this man did, to just pack it in and go be a lawyer? He has found, in his writing, a way to describe water as the sun sets on it. It involves listing as many crayola colors as possible separated by hyphens. His single-spaced three page essay was, for me, unreadable. It reeked, as they say, of effort. Like, how many adjectives can I use to describe this thing? How many ways can I say "went" or "did" without using those words? How can I get my money's worth out of my thesaurus?
5. A professor from Harvard whose writing is fabulous. Sister, why the hell are you in this class?! If I'm uncharitable, I say that it's to embarrass all of us beginners. If I'm less uncharitable, perhaps she is a holdover from the Bush FBI and is infiltrating any and all fat-headed groups to ensure no al-qaeda poets show up.
6. A hippie girl. Ever notice that whenever there is a guy playing the bongo drums in a park that there is at least one hippie chick "dancing" to it, peasant skirt and long hair twirling as she goes? This is that woman. Her writing is florid, full of multi-adjectival clauses and medieval references, all seeking to pay homage to her cat.
7. Jeanne Kirkpatrick. Or at least, her very serious and humorless doppelganger.
8. Robert Redford's brother. In the Kevin-not-Matt-Dillon sense. You can see the genes, but the hot ones went to the other kid. He is actually rather interesting in a completely not-annoying way, as is his writing. So no slam this week on Kevin Redford.
9. Cute Semitic Man. He's cool and he writes beautifully and sparingly. He's also not in a race to Say The Most in class. I appreciate that kind of confidence.
10. My friend, the writer. Just a completely normal human who writes beautifully--and who has the ability to speak volumes with her eyes in this class.
11. Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club. Kind of disheveled and utterly silent. It's almost like she was a presence in the room rather than an actual student. I bet she writes like Hemingway.
12. Finally, "It's Pat." She's definitely a woman. But boy does she make you jump through hoops to see it. She's in I.T. Her passion is microorganisms, specifically malaria. She speaks at length in class then follows it up with, "I'm not making any sense; I'll stop now." Courage, woman! Courage! If you're going to expound on one line of a story for 10 minutes, at least have the courage of your convictions to think, "I am talking sense!" Even if you're not.
Money well-spent, kids. Money well-spent.