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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tell me about yourself

I hate that phrase. Tell me something about yourself. In terms of obnoxious small talk, it’s right up there along with So what’s your major? or How do you like your school? I mean, sure, I love Davis. The town’s cute. No, I don’t pass by cows on the way to class every day. Yes, there are things to do here. Yeah, my classes are OK. Sometimes I like them; sometimes I don’t.

What am I supposed to say? I’m a writer, I guess. Or at least I enjoy putting pen to paper, putting words to feeling and experiences. A few details: I had cancer, I went to an all-girls Catholic school, I once slammed my little brother’s head in a car door (on accident!), I took Red Crossing wayyy too seriously in high school. By that, I mean that I used to carry first aid foldouts in my back pocket (just in case anyone needed to know how to treat hypothermia or blocked esophagi), and also taught disaster preparedness classes for which I memorized and recited the Cool Cat Fire Safety Rap.

But when it comes down to it, what do these little facts even say about me? They’re just disconnected dots, just loose scraps of paper in a drawer. They’re just pieces of who I am – they don’t make sense on their own. Another fact about me, apparently – I love to use metaphors.

I feel as though I’ve been trying to explain myself through my columns for a while now. I’ve been attempting to do the whole dialogue through written word thing, and who knows if it’s worked? I mean, that was the original appeal of column-writing – I get to write about myself and make it seem like a legitimate activity.

Let’s step away from that for a moment.

I’ve decided that this week, for my last column of the quarter, I want to hear about all of you. It sounds cheesy, but I just want to know about all of you out there – who do you think you are, really? What are you going through? How many class periods have you actually attended this quarter? (My personal answer: not nearly enough.)

I’m a sucker for the one- to two-sentence stories; how do you sum yourself up in a couple dozen words? How would you say everything about yourself that needs to be said in just a few typed lines? I want to know! Enlighten me, please! (terpham@ucdavis.edu, if you needed a reminder.)

Basically, I want to know all of you who are reading my column. I guess I’m looking for human contact, for some kind of a response or clue as to who I’m trying to reach here. Maybe it’s no one? Maybe it’s just my friends (the only people I know of who actually go onto the paper’s website to read my articles)?

I was looking back through my columns, and it made me wonder what all my writing really said about myself. I am mostly cheerful. I enjoy cupcakes and I love puppies (apparently). I write about weekend mishaps and other silly things of little consequence. I call myself an English major even though I haven’t officially declared it yet. I believe strongly in online lurking, though I like to think that it’s not so much in a creepy way as a harmlessly curious way.

I suppose on the most basic, surface level, all these things are true. But there’s more to it than that, and I’m willing to bet that it’s the same way for everything. I’m a writer, and I would love to say that words are enough, that newsprint and typography can make up my world. There has to be more than that, something tangible and experiential. That’s what written words are, really, the imprint of something real, something that was there and felt.

So maybe a better proposal is this: It’s spring (or at least it is, in my books). The sun is shining; the grass is dry. It’s prime picnicking weather. And conveniently, Nameless Magazine is having its birthday potluck picnic Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. on the Quad (do you write? Do art? Music? Film? Check out namelessmagazine.com or just come play with us!).

(Update: we are now meeting in the Garrison Room of the MU because it might rain).

Yes, that was a shameless plug for Nameless, but no, that wasn’t the entire point. I just want to be able to sit out in the sun with everyone, share cupcakes and get to know people and their talents. So please, tell me about yourself?

 

TERESA PHAM wants to dabble in crafts, literature and (hopefully) sunshine. To join her, please send e-mails to terpham@ucdavis.edu. XXX

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