Sunday, November 23, 2008

the egoless i

i had earlier blogs on blogger before this one. in some of them i used the royal we to describe myself. i did that because i thought that using the word i would've sounded narcissistic; that was one thing i didn't want to do to further pollute the internet.

but i've gotten over that. now use i to describe myself. one way i got around it is what i call the egoless i.

for example, if you were going to write about your vacation on pike's peak, you might write:

since i was a little kid, i've always been fascinated with pike's peak. it's a mountain in colorado named after zebulon pike, the leader of the first expedition of white men to see it.

it's also the site of the annual pike's peak international hill climb, a motor race to its top that was dominated at one time by the unser racing family.

this summer, i went on vacation to pike's peak. i hiked up it and down it and had a great time.

if you substitute my name (harrison, by the way) or someone else's name for i, and the sentences make just as much sense, then it's a situation where the i -- you, that is -- is egoless.

the most important thing in the essay is not the subject, but the object -- not you, but the mountain and the potential to have a good time there.

for the opposite of that i give this example:

if you write an essay where you have a sentence like i suffered a great indignity, then it's a look-at-me sentence, close to narcissism and selfpity.

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