During the second session of the "Writing Comic Fiction and Memoir" course I'm taking at Stanford this term, the teacher said the word "sex" and half the class tittered in embarrassment.
I sighed inwardly. Every week we workshop each other's stories, and I projected forward to a semester of bland stories on baking brownies for grandchildren, and doing yoga on the balcony.
I was wrong.
I began to realize my error in week 3, when the student most resembling a grandmother -- a bespectacled white-haired lady -- read a memoir chapter of teaching in prison to tattooed criminals. The next week, we workshopped a memoir about rescuing the narrator's sister from decades of servitude in the high ranks of Scientology.
This Wednesday, we'll workshop a story about guiding an adult emotionally-retarded son to move out of his parents' house, and one of a young girl uncovering a lie about who her real father is.
In Mandarin, there's a phrase, "家家有本难念的经". ("Each house has a tome of difficult-to-read scripture.") This means that every family has their own tragedy to fight, and even the most ideal-looking exterior houses demons within.
I repent my first-impression judgements. Happy Year of the Pig to all, and good luck with your family's scripture.