Sunday, February 15, 2009


There's a sort of chain letter going around Facebook called 25 Random Things About Me. If you've been "tagged" in the note by its author, the point is to read that person's 25 random things, then respond by writing one of your own, and tagging another 25 people.

Interestingly enough, Slate magazine took a little online survey in attempts to find the origin of the note (which seems to have morphed from a similar chain of 16 Random Things). The origin was never found, but they did discover that there was a spike in activity in late January. Hmmm, just about the time I did my own list. And following my own list, I must have read at least a dozen more.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this list, and the hard part for me was limiting it to 25 things. (I've been toying w/ the idea of posting a new note called 25 More Random Things About Me, but I wonder if anyone other than me will really care -- the magic has worn off by now, I'm guessing.) Of course, writer that I am, I revised my list a couple of times, changed the wording, etc. In the end, I was happy w/ what I produced, w/ the exception of one item that I want to delete. It just didn't sit right w/ me.

What I found most fascinating was that these 25 Random Things were, in fact, the seedlings of 25 essays, or 25 memoirs. And I found the same to be true of others. Each one, by crafting 25 mini-stories, was crafting a much larger story. It was incredibly expressivist and incredibly socially constructed at the same time. By "tagging" others, we were inviting others to shape the story, become part of the writing experience whether it was by commenting on any item ("I'm terrified of spiders too!" or "dude, that's whacked") or simply continuing the conversation by contributing our own lists. This is what I love about rhetoric: it's always in response to something else (because some items were inspired by others'-- Donald Murray: "As we read someone else's story, we write our own"). And narrative is simply regenerative. It evolves as we do. It changes meaning as we change.

And so, it has just sparked an idea for a new writing project (like I don't have enough already!): what if I compile a collection of essays entitled 25 Random Things About Me (I wonder if that title is intellectual property?) It would be a book of 25 essays, all personal in some form or another. I think it would be most fun, definitely challenging, and probably time-consuming.

I'm putting it on the back burner anyway. You never know.

1 comment:

G Liz said...

So far, I have resisted the 25 Random Things chain great part because of something you mention in your post...the editing. I would edit the hell out of mine until I couldn't take it any longer! I'm just that way...I'd try to sleep at night, yet would wake up and revise and revise and revise and revise... :-)

I hope you're doing wonderfully these days!