Friday, May 21, 2010

The Story of My Life

Author Casey Wolf recently asked the question, what would be the title of your autobiography. (She suggested hers would be "Sometimes a Vague Notion", which I rather liked.)

So I asked my wife what she would title my biography, and she suggested:

"Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down"

which is, admittedly, my family motto, although it sounds a lot better in the Latin.

But I'm thinking the subtitle here would have to be "The Story of a Sedentary Life" and that is the sort of title that might not make the best-seller list.

Her alternative for me was likewise unhelpful:

"Drifting: So Far, So Good"

Although that does accurately describe my general approach to life, it might mislead readers into thinking I was a hobo, which would likely be more adventuresome than my actual biography.

So upon reflection, I have to go with:

"Still Thinking About it"

but again, for commercial reasons, I thought I should drop the subtitle:
"A Life of Procrastination"

But then Quebec author Jean-Louis Trudel argued:

I don't know... IIRC, Proust was one of the first to use the word "procrastination" in French, and _Remembrance of Things Past_ is a masterpiece of procrastination, showing how a writer can procrastinate in the course of writing about a writer who
procrastinates until he finds out he's going to write about procrastination.

It worked fairly well for Proust, though he died before he could finish it all, proving that he was a true procrastinator and turning his masterpiece into a work of performance art. Or perhaps a Totalkunstwerk.

I am, however, no Proust. So I spent quite a long time debating and wondering what the perfect title would be, right up until I went to post this on my blog. Then of course it came to me: I had to call my autobiography, "I'm Not Boring You, Am I?" Pretty much sums up all aspects of my life as an academic, an essayist, and especially as a parent....

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