I’m sure many of you will agree with me when I say that I hate to write about myself. I don’t know why exactly. I’m too self-aware to blame it on a dearth of ego, a sentiment that I imagine will draw sympathy from anyone who spends much time putting lines down on paper and expecting others to use their time looking at them. No, there’s something more challenging about autobiography for me. It’s the dissonance between the experiences of story and reality, I think. It’s the conflict between being and becoming.
I could sit here and tell you about books I’ve read or the first time I scratched some verse on the back of a crumpled receipt. I could even tell you about watching the New Mexican sunset over gin and tonics with Cormac McCarthy as he crooned the old Cas Walker store jingle. But those things don’t tell you anything about me. Those are only things I’ve done, not things that I am. The problem being, of course, who the hell knows who I am? Like all of us, I’m constantly in flux, and any attempt to distill myself into an inert blurb can’t help but feel disingenuous.
In the end I’ll have to content myself with a few summary statements, inevitably more misleading than veracious. I was raised a tepid Catholic, and that upbringing still has more bearing on me now than I’m eager to admit. My artistic interests tend to fluctuate wildly between a fascination with austere formalism and an impulse towards overwrought sentimentality. I enjoy French films, Russian novels, and Nashville hot chicken. I’ve taken up jogging lately, and I feel that my stride resembles that of some great flightless bird, the sort of curious and lopsided thing you might come across pecking at ants somewhere deep in the New Zealand bush.
I can only ask that you don’t hold me to anything I’ve written here. I make no promises to still be the person described above given a week’s time. If you expect as much, we’ll only both be disappointed. I may have moved on to Carolina BBQ by then.
Spencer Trent is a writer of fiction, poetry, and film criticism living in Knoxville, TN. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with degrees in Creative Writing and American Studies, and his work was recognized with the university’s Margaret Artley Woodruff Award for creative writing as well as the Knickerbocker Award for free and experimental verse. His writing has been featured in Arts Knoxville, Blank Newspaper, and the Phoenix Literary Arts Magazine. He makes a living working in television production and, when not hunched over a keyboard, can likely be spotted by the glow of the nearest cinema screen.