Day three of the Digital Pedagogy Lab, and after reading the chapter in Laura Gibbs‘ OER called Creativity and Constraints I’m trying one additional way of developing a condensed story. In Laura’s textbook, she talks about Tweet-sized stories.
Instead of writing microfiction, I decided to develop a micro-essay, and I wanted to publish that micro-work via Twitter, for the sake of authenticity and also as an experiment—can I tell a story in this small amount of words? I tagged the micro-essay #cnftweet, which is a hashtag associated with one of my favorite magazines Creative Nonfiction.
The rules of creating a #cnftweet are the following: tell a true story inside the confines of a tweet, make it snappy (that’s not a real rule; I just made it up), tell a story, and use the hashtag.
The backstory of this story’s central event includes this: yes, my mom really used to call me Bertha Butt, and she used to sing this weird song’s chorus to me when I was a child: Bertha Butt Boogie. I am not completely sure why, but I can guess. For starters, it’s funny in a mean way. Second, it kept me in check. Lastly, I don’t think my mother realized the impact of her words.
As a woman in my forties, I am over it. I don’t worry about my physical appearance, and I forgive my mother. But I keep telling the story because I think it’s compelling: it’s the story of how a parent projects their insecurities onto their child, and how the child swallows it whole. I don’t think my mother is the only parent to do this, and I think other people will be able to relate to this story. For that reason, I think it’s universal and worthy of sharing.
I’m not sure, however, if the micro-essay is the correct form. On Twitter, people are responding by ONLY being disturbed. I think I need more space to contextualize this story so people can see it’s about more than being bullied.
Even if the story requires more than a Tweet’s amount of words, I’m glad I can make this story public and gauge people’s reactions.