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"We all know what we're talking about here."

Helping my sister move in at college this week brought back a lot of memories of my own college experience--serenading the greek revival "sorority" houses with my a capella quintet; good-natured "hazing" of "pledges" that ended in laughs all around; waving pennants and sipping mulled wine at the annual "bowl game." Say what you will, those are my pleasant memories of college life.

More difficult to repress than my actual memories of college is my writing from that time, because it's saved to an iMac hard drive. The years since only sharpen the pain of re-reading the immature, lazy, derivative crap I wrote while allegedly perfecting my craft. I wince my way through the Appleworks files. On the rare occasion I come across some clever turn of phrase, I often realize that I inadvertently cribbed a lame Police lyric or something. The friggin' Police? The "It's no use, he sees her, he starts to shake and cough / Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov" Police? Ugh. You'll note that this item might be more compelling with an illustrative example of my terrible college output, but I think the progression in my writing speaks for itself.

Michael Showalter confronted the terror and embarrassment of reading your own precocious teenage drivel in his standup--I saw him talk about his high school lit mag at the Black Cat a couple of years back. The piece, a dramatic reading of his own story, "The Apartment," also appears on his album "Sandwiches and Cats."

Michael Showalter -- The Apartment

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