We spent a good portion of Wednesday's Non-Fiction session discussing our assignments. I was grateful for this use of the time because, while I wasn't feeling particularly anxious about this piece, I felt I hadn't quite cracked it yet.
My problem lies in that, unlike the rest of the class, I haven't chosen to write about something which involves my own personal experience. I chose to write the last ten minutes of the Titanic. I'm more obsessed with the ship than any normal person should be so I figured I might as well pick it as a topic rather than something I'm only mildly obsessed with.
In the criteria for the assignment, however, there seems to be a significant emphasis on 'the personal'. There's the obvious issue that the Titanic sank 75 years before I was born, so I can hardly give an personal account of it without wandering into the realms of fiction. And then there's also the thing that stops me from updating my facebook status more than twice a year - I barely even care about what I think, so why should anyone else?
I've therefore decided to change the structure of the piece a little. Rather than having just the creative (yet factual) description of the sinking, I'm also adding something in about my interest in the Titanic as a whole. I'm slightly concerned that the two styles won't marry up but I'll have to see what everyone else thinks.
Either side of the piece's main body, I go on a mini-rant about museums and how I find exhibitions underwhelming. (Basically, I unleashed the grump. That'll teach them to ask for my opinion again.)
And yet even this added bit hasn't really explained why I'm so interested in the Titanic because, quite frankly, I have no idea. I can't tell you why it intrigues me so much. The idea that it's some sort of morbid fascination doesn't quite fit because there have been plenty of other historical events since with far higher fatality rates. I don't think there's some sort of conspiracy attached to it. I don't see it as a symbol of western complacency destroyed. I don't think it was signalling the beginning of the end of the golden times, with WWI just around the corner. Any of these would be reasonable explanations, but they're just not mine.
So no, university-criteria-writer, I'm afraid I don't know what this piece means. I don't know why the Titanic enthrals me. Maybe I'm just a bit odd.