I’m sitting here before class trying to rewrite my meta-fiction research paper. Given the fact that you’re reading this, the efforts have been less than successful. This semester has been a lot of meta. Meta-fiction, meta-knowledge, meta-literacy…the lay version of explaining all of that is the über-discussion about a topic. Questions which wonder about how exactly we are learning, and in the case of meta-fiction, there is something else the author/narrator wants to say outside of the story, something direct and in a way which would effect the readers reality in ways a simpler storyline might not.
So in my paper I’m trying, as per usual, to write to the given audience, my teacher. I didn’t really think too much about whether or not I should use The Neverending Story as an example a universal meta-fiction story. Boy reads book, boy becomes part of book. (There’s more to it than that, in both story and meta-fiction, but there’s a rough sketch.) I end up phrasing it thusly, “an example that most everyone has heard [of meta-fiction] of is the The Neverending Story.”
I get the paper back (which I got a B on by the way, I’m only rewriting for an A so that I’m allowed to write a short story as a final paper) and above that statement is written, ‘Not me.’ Who hasn’t heard of The Neverending Story? What English teacher hasn’t heard of that? What English teacher with children my age hasn’t heard of that at all?
I also wonder if this is a symptom of the strange academia land of culture that I worry about falling into, with my very own monocle and haughty tones. Is this über-culture what my teacher may have been afflicted with? So steeped in the avant-garde that you lose sight on popular culture? And at that point, how can you even hope to write a relatable universal story if don’t have some sort of sense of heartbeat on what humans consider relevant?
And then she complains that I have a tin ear for writing. But that’s a whole other rant.