Living Out a Story

The topic of my repurposing project is telling a life story.

To tell my life story, I plan on repurposing an alma mater that I co-authored this summer into an outline for a synopsis of major vivid events occurring in my past 19 years of living.  My goal is to create a reflective piece that will stand as a reminder of things in my life that I am afraid I will forget as time passes.

When I first searched for examples of people telling their life stories through different types of media, I came across a website called “My Life Story: A Diary for a Whole Lifetime of Memories”.  This site is based out of the United Kingdom and it sells 1080 page diaries for around 60$.  Part of the catch is that you can buy one for someone who isn’t capable of recording their own life yet, so you can start it for them.  For example, you can purchase one for your newborn child and keep a record of their firsts until a time when the child is capable of recording their own life in the diary.  As I read through their pitch, all I was thinking was “wow I wish my parents had bought me one of those when I was a child!”  If I had recorded my life events up until now, I wouldn’t have to rely on my memory to conduct this project.  But through using my memories now, I can create a reflective diary; one that I will be able to look on for years in the future and be reminded of things, just as I would have been if I had started the diary 15 years ago.  Now is the perfect time to make this all happen.

The second thing I came across was “My Life Story” written by Gordon Dioxide. Gordon is an enticing author.  He comes across as a witty and funny guy, and he was able to turn his rather average and long life into an interesting story. Here is the  LINK to check out his work.

Rhetorical Map of Gordon’s “My Life Story”

Composer: Gordon Dioxide

Subject: An arbitrary run-through of Gordon’s progression of age while attempting to get a job

Audience: Anyone who likes a good laugh.  Especially good for readers on a lunch break or someone who has some extra time for a quick read while commuting throughout the day.

Genre/Medium: Comical Fiction or article in magazine 

Context: A reflective piece written by a man at the end of his life.  He has nothing to loose.  This is something his kids and grandkids can read over to remember his charm and dry humor.

Exigence: The motive of writing was to give people something to remember him by.  Not something that necessarily outlines his life, but something that captures his personality.

Constraints: He was constrained to writing something that would be catchy but not too lengthy so that the reader wouldn’t overanalyze it, but rather accept it for what it is.


Gordon writes as if he has no major topic to write about, where as in this LINK, you will find text about a memoir written by a director named Ruby Yang who has a long and vivid story to tell.  Gordon writes about his life in a way that makes it sound so simple and average, but Yang explains life as her protagonists overcome adversity.

I hope to strike somewhere in the middle of these two extremes when writing my memoir but I still want to maintain the same effect.  I want to move my audience in the same ways that I was moved by Gordon and Yang’s pieces.

More on Schon

I’m not really good with all of the philosophy stuff, but I’m trying for Schon.

Schon brings up a lot of really good, albeit really obvious, points in the beginning of this article. For example, his “knowing-in-action” really just seems like an attempt to apply a term to innate abilities. For example, he brought up the facial recognition idea. You know a person’s face, but are often unable to prescribe it certain features, such as if you were trying to describe Person A to Person B. There is a whole group of neurons in your brain that all they do is facial recognition. You can have damage in your brain that will result in an inability to recognize faces. There is a great article on it called “The Man Who Though His Wife Was a Hat.” I just don’t really see the point, I guess, in trying to define, or quantify, this “knowing-in-action.”

What I did like about the Schon article was his attempt to try to apply all of his terms to a spectrum of careers: medicine, law, music, art, business. His examples got pretty redundant after awhile, but I appreciated his attempt. Probably the most striking lines of the article for me was on page 34:

“Within this framework, there is little room for professional artistry, except as a matter of style grafted onto technical expertise.

For all the use and application Schon did of his concepts to other non-humanities related professions, I was a little surprised by this. It makes sense, I guess, for the matter in which he explained it. However, I think this quote really begs the question of what does he define as “artistry?” Maybe it really is just for art, music, and theater professions? Can there be no expertise in these professions?

All in all, I didn’t really see the point of this article or what meaning I was supposed to glean from the lofty rhetoric used by Schon to describe mundane daily actions, especially in the context of writing. It sort of read like a psychology textbook where in which a lot of technical names are assigned to everyday occurrences.