“Tell us your story: Tell us about a journey – whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.”
Oh, WordPress. You and your ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’. You see, you had me up to ‘or’, but now you’re just going to get a rant. You have been warned.
But first, a small confession. I used to watch ‘American Idol’.
Let me immediately qualify this shameful admission by saying that, with the exception of Adam Lambert and maybe – just maybe – Chris Daughtry (mmm….nah) most of the contestants, even the successful ones, left me quite cold. It’s just not my kind of thing, and that’s only partly because Simon Cowell is involved.
The best bits of ‘Idol’ for me were always the mass auditions. There were few things more amusing on TV a few years ago than watching people who didn’t take themselves too seriously (an attitude that gets my vote every time) murder ‘I Will Survive’, while Randy Jackson mugged horror for the camera and what’s-her-face Paula Abdul thought it was all profoundly moving, if a little, well, crap.
Even better were those hopefuls who were not only inept but also deluded, lacking any awareness of how truly, awfully, talentless they actually were. Now, I can’t sing to save my life – any more than I can drive a car or ‘do’ gardening or DIY – but at least I know it and am therefore able to minimise the risk of being ridiculed or, even worse, boring other people.
But then for some unknown reason (political correctness? effective lobbying by Concerned Americans for the Tone-deaf?) suddenly all the fun went out of it and there had to be some kind of ‘excuse’ for this – hardly uncommon – inability to hold a note. And likely as not, all would be explained and forgiven as soon as Seacrest, against a background of muted strings, started to tell us about the ‘journey’ that the talentless oaf was on.
Cut to the audience, bottom lips a-quiver as they listen to the latest tale of courage in the face of adversity (as often as not self-inflicted). I suppose it offered a change from the usual mindless, uncritical whooping.
Correction, correction, correction. This has nothing to do with a ‘journey’. Look it up. According to Webster’s dictionary (an American publication, by the way), a journey is ‘an act of travelling from one place to another’. Note the word ‘place’.
You cannot go on an ’emotional journey’. There is no such thing. What you are actually describing in this context is what is more properly referred to as ‘life’.
You have emotions: well done. You are alive: congratulations. Not everything is perfect: tough. You still can’t sing, and none of this makes you in any way special, or entitles you to bore the pants off the rest of us, who just bloody well get on with it.
If you absolutely insist, you can tell us about your poor upbringing and your struggles, but be warned that any sympathy you just might otherwise deserve will evaporate instantaneously as soon as you refer to this as a journey.
Instead, why not tell us about when you got on a bus and went from point A to point B? Now that’s a proper journey.