Memoir revisited

Dear Readers:

Jimmy, my creative writing instructor, moved our introductory class from poetry to memoir studies in February, 2008. She told us this genre required brutal honesty (no dodging dicey topics) so adopting a straight-shooter attitude was the first step and a good start. However, to be successful in the current publishing world, the story had to be exciting, unusual, limited in scope, and sewn together with a common theme. Did I really hear her say that youthful inexperience could be a drawback? Did this mean someone of my ancient vintage was suited for this species? I looked around the class and saw young, fresh, faces nodding, not in agreement, but drowsiness. Ah, this could be my cup of tea. I drove home mentally selecting, then rejecting, odd situations and personalities I’d experienced during my first (aka working) career. What was the most unusual? A light bulb clicked. The most unique personages I’d encountered were Clinical Laboratory Pathologists. These physicians were the hyper-intelligent doctors who realized, during the first day in their internship, they hated being isolated with a live patient in an exam room. Searching for a way to avoid living, breathing bodies, they opted for the dead-on-the-slab types in the morgue or the bits and pieces of tissues surgically removed and glued between a glass slide and a cover slip, dyed in lovely hues of the rainbow. Dictation of macroscopic and microscopic descriptions and diagnoses into a dictaphone suited them. Having worked in various locations around the USA, experiencing mergers, down-sizing, right-sizing, and seniority list evaluating, I had more than ample experience working with a myriad of “Dysfunctional Path”ologists. The plot thickens.

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