Well, it served me right. There I was poking around in other people’s blogs yesterday. I visited my writer friend Ruth Douilette’s blog and discovered I’d been asked to publicly respond to a writing challenge:
Write a meme about my strengths as a writer. Hmmm…… what’s meme, I thought? I looked in my trusty Oxford American online dictionary:
meme |mēm| |mim| |miːm|
an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.
That didn’t explain very much to me, so I went to the lazy woman’s dictionary, Wikipedia, who said:
Richard Dawkins coined the term meme, which first came into popular use with the publication of his book The Selfish Gene in 1976. Dawkins based the word on a shortening of the Greek “mimeme” (something imitated), making it sound similar to “gene”.
I still didn’t understand what this was all about, but then I found this online site, The Daily Meme:
In the context of web logs / ‘blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it’s some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on. (what color you are most like, what cartoon character are you, what 80s movie are you).
Ah. Here was the answer to my question. What an interesting assignment and an interesting thing to try to do for ourselves as writers. I actually had to go to critiques I’ve received from other writers to begin to see what they see when they read my work.
I find it curious; when I get these critiques I tend to focus on the portions of my work that need work and not the wonderful things they say.
Like Ruth, I find it hard to sing my own praises. Call it modest, or hard working–there, that’s the one. It sounds better to me, anyway. It’s a bit the way we see ourselves in the mirror and the way others see us, isn’t it?
So I sat down and copied off what people have said about my work over the past several months. Here are a few:
You have this ability to take readers into your space.
Lyrical and evocative
The language is telling, delicate and reflective
Wow! Who is that writer? I always see myself tripping over language, editing relentlessly to get the clutter out of the way.
But that hasn’t answered the question: what are my strengths as a writer?
When I write memoir I try to put myself back in the situation I am writing about, to enter the brain space of the experience. I think I’m honest when I write. I try to look hard at what I’m writing about; not just the surface details, but what lies beneath things. I have a gift for observation–my mother has always told me this–and I think I capture nature when I write about it. Other writers have told me that.
There! That didn’t hurt, and I feel ever so slightly better about myself after that exercise. Oh, and I research things I don’t know about– likes memes, for instance.
So thank you, Ruth, for the assignment.
Thank you, Mridu Khullar, for originating the task.
Here is my challenge extended: Write a meme about your strengths as a writer
Ross Eldridge- you will have to send emails or, better yet, start a blog. This could be your first entry!