ToBS R1: “everybody has a story” vs. “show don’t tell”
[Matchup #9 in Tournament of Bookshit]
“Everybody has a story”
But I don’t like the story of a woman unsatisfied with her marriage, her greying hair still shoulder length from the 60s, taking a creative writing class at the community college, getting all nervous in her Hyundai parked outside under a leafless tree, going over in pen, again, the final revisions of her 3000-word story: the one about a woman her age, of average median household income, whose husband is also a strong but silent type reoccurring satellite figure in her empty life; who, like the amateur in jean overalls now crying in her Korean-made car, also drinks gin in her pajamas at night while playing solitaire, in an unnamed though evocatively New England-y town, whose racial demographic is similar to hers, except in the story the friendly mail man who dies of cancer because something needs to fucking happen is African-American, which her instructor (a man with both a novel and pony-tail “out”) told her she should include before she submits it to Glimmer Train, because those ladies are into black guys probably.
“Show don’t tell”
The undeclared student who took Creative Writing as an elective sensed some Jägermeister in the freezer, and quietly walked over to it. As the dense mist cleared, he saw the dark green bottle, and smiled. “I am a douchebag,” he thought. He felt a wavy sensation at his shins, his girlfriend’s cat. He leaned down and pet the cat, going over its back three times. He walked over to his laptop and opened a document titled “what we talk abt when we talk abt absolutely nothing.doc,” which was due in class after he had his pop tarts. They smelled like cherry and sugar getting warm in the toaster. He felt the smoldering wisps of pop tart entering his mildly flaring nostrils. “What the fuck are doing here?” his girlfriend asked, carrying a bag of cat litter. “Do you want me to help you with that?” he asked. “Did you not get the restraining order?” she said, tears as translucent mice tails running down her cheeks. As the house burned down, the undeclared student who took Creative Writing as an elective decided that he would major in Economics.
– – –
WINNER: Jimmy Fallon; Glimmer Train; M. Night Shyamalan’s financial consultant
[ED.: I have chosen to interpret Jimmy’s nonstraightforward answer for WINNER as “everybody has a story”]