Analysis Paralysis

In the continuing saga of my attempts to learn how to write a critical paper of the type required by Goddards’ MFA program in creative writing, I went to the main library microfilm room (first time in 20 years) and read twelve reviews of Tobias Wolff’s memoir, This Boy’s Life, hoping to ignite a fire. I found little help. Most of the authors compared Tobias’ tale with his brother Geoffrey’s, The Duke of Deception, which I have not yet read.

I realize now that I missed my chance. I was given the golden opportunity of driving Professor Tobias Wolff to the Columbus airport Saturday. Perhaps I should have asked him exactly what he intended when he was choosing scenes for the sub-plot of his relationship with his mother (the subject of my paper). But it was 6:30AM. He looked as if I had woken him. And I was primarily thinking about the dog hair I had forgotten to sweep from the back of my station wagon where his bags were riding. So I did not ask.

But, if I ever contact Wolff for a book jacket blurb, I’ll just say, “I’m the woman from Columbus with the dirty car that got dog-hair all over your luggage when I took you to the airport.” I’m sure he’ll remember.