The Messy Process of Defining Self






Once I handed this list of years to a fellow writer whose job it was to introduce me to a crowd of strangers before I read a short story.

He dutifully read the dates, shook his head, looked into the expectant crowd and said, “I have no idea what that means, but here’s Catherine Keefe.”

When I composed that bio – a catalog of important years: my birth, marriage, children’s births – I fancied that reducing myself to numbers was highly creative. Perhaps it was. But it also produced a barrier of confusion between myself and my audience. I’ve never done it since.

What I have done, in my writing and my life, is skirt the fine edge of individuality and remaining mindful that we are all one.

This photo I took of myself one hectic morning (those are toothpaste spots on my skirt and yes I have two different boots on) reveal that sometimes walking two paths at once looks funny. Yet my heart remains firmly centered in the muddle.

About Catherine Keefe

Catherine Keefe is the founding and managing editor of *dirtcakes* a journal of poetry, creative nonfiction, art and photography. Her creative nonfiction essays, interviews and book reviews have appeared nationally. She teaches undergraduates how to Write About Literature, or Write Creative Nonfiction, or Compose Self at Chapman University in Orange, CA.
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One Response to The Messy Process of Defining Self

  1. Catherine Keefe says:

    I would grade this post a 13-14. While I hint at philosophies of individualism and connectivity, I don’t quote any directly. My bad. That’s what happens when you run out of time.

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