I gave a conference paper back in May about what happens when you take the principle that an autobiographer's identity is not just constructed and conveyed by what is narrated in an autobiography, but by how it's narrated - what happens when you take that principle, which encourages one to find meaning even in the slipshoddiest and hapdashiest of autobiographical utterances - and you drive it up against an academic creative writing subject called "Writing your own life 101", where however loath you are to set yourself up as an aesthetic authority or to dole out normative observations about the "craft" of autobiography-writing, these are exactly what your average student wants - or needs, given that your aesthetic authority and normative observations are going to be in full flight come assessment time. (How anyone can claim aesthetic authority when she routinely writes in sentences of more than one hundred and fifty words, I know not.) When I gave this conference paper, back in May, it went over pretty well (i.e., polite tittering), and this I attribute to the facts that (a) I began with a lengthy anecdote from Freud's analysis of "Dora", wherein he deduces from the way she handles her purse that she is a pathological masturbator, (b) I said unkind things about Victorian mutton chops (it is a well established fact that everyone loves a good laugh at the expense of nineteenth-century tonsure), (c) half the audience was made up of personal friends of mine, (d) noone noticed that I didn't actually reach any sort of resolution (despite the fact that I had instructed myself, in my notes, to "insert intelligible conclusions here"). (N.B., including this sentence, we are now up to sentence no. 4.)
I'm turning this conference paper into an essay, yes I am, and it's due by the end of the week, and I'm even more confused about it all than I was in May, and I'm not sure that unkind comments about Victorian mutton chops are as amusing in print as they are in a windowless seminar room when the alternative to unkind comments about Victorian mutton chops is an 8-line Judith Butler quotation. Hence the chocolate, known for its wholesome restorative properties. To those who say otherwise: have you ever seen a dead Belgian?