CNF Bitchface Syndrome

CNF Bitchface Syndrome

There are so many things I need to do today.

Shower. Go for a run. Clean Matilda’s room. Buy groceries for the Mother Hubbardville kitchen.

But instead I’m looking at this old essay I wrote about the time I worked at a Christian high school as a Spanish teacher and also coached the cheerleading team.

A couple things about that experience: at the time I was barely a Christian. And I had never been a cheerleader. I didn’t even have cheerleaders for friends. I was licensed to teach Spanish for grades 7-12, so at least I wasn’t a total phony.

It was a difficult time to live through, being this undercover agent in the land of Evangelicals, pretending to be a role model for my students when all I wanted to do was go home and watch TV while I graded their assignments and smoke cigarettes and the rest of it. Now it’s amusing to read about, however.

This old essay is really bitchy, though. As bitchy as some of the cheerleaders I coached, even. And I don’t really want to insult or highlight any of the people from that experience, because a) some of them were nice b) some of them were assholes c) I don’t really need to hear from any of them ever again in my life. It wasn’t their fault I was a fraud, right? I mean, who takes a job at a religious high school when they’re not religious? Kinda stupid move on my part.

Also I’m not really good at Creative Nonfiction. Like, I don’t know all the rules/norms of this genre – CNF, as everyone calls it.

CNF sounds like some kind of genetic disease.

I need Gretchen and Rebecca’s advice:  how to make CNF less bitchy, maybe?

One Comment

  • Becca on Oct 02, 2012 Reply

    For the sake of completeness to this blog, I’ll paraphrase my FB post.

    So ripping a page out of my own playbook as lovingly coached by the fabulous Gretchen Stahlman and Lisa Ohlen Harris – you’re overthinking this. 🙂 What Gretchen said about Dinah Lenney’s approach (“The cornerstone of CNF is reflection. Without reflection, you have biography…with reflection, the focus shifts from the incident to the meaning of it. The story/incident is the metaphor, not the entertainment … Although this story lead you to a certain epiphany, choosing a different story could also illustrate the same experience. The emphasis is not so much on the story, but its meaning in your life.” is spot on.

    Your musings about what the event/essay means that you’ve written on FB, also very relevant to a revision of the original piece. So go to it.

    Write it conversationally if you’d like. Or write like a list “Ten Things I Didn’t Know About Being A Bitchy, Spanish-Speaking Cheerleading Coach” or “Ten Spanish Prayers for Cheerleaders” or something. Have /fun/ with the next draft. You’ll find the humanity in the piece much easier.

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