Mortification as grist

Apparently, “embarrassing and raw” is trending.

Which means my work-in-progress is right on trend.

Have you heard about Mortified Live? It’s a live event of people telling stories about their lives by sharing their mostly mortifying childhood artifacts — like diary entries — in front of total strangers.

The concept has been made into a movie: Mortified Nation: A Documentary that Shares the Shame. 

If you’re not sure this is entertaining, check out the videos on the website. They’re hilarious.

“To take your shame and own it and laugh at it is essentially the very nature of what Mortified is about,” says the narrator on the trailer.

A news story about the movie caught my attention because 85% of the story in my work-in-progress is based on my diaries from junior high and high school in the early ’80s. I was struggling with how to include that angst-y, over-the-top melodrama in the memoir, and now I’m thinking: I’ll just include word-for-word diary entries. Because embarrassing is funny!

January 13

Dear Diary,

Today I cheated in English. I gave my spelling paper to P., R., D. and some other boys. Mrs. U. walked by and saw them. Everyone involved got in trouble. Ohhh my.

January 14

Dear Diary,

Today Mrs. U. said that she didn’t flunk me but she flunked everyone else involved. Yesterday I got a real scare on that. My room is right above the family room and whatever you say down there can be heard up in my room. Well, last night I heard words like “copying,” “copying from her paper” and stuff. I was in bed and I just froze. Today I asked my mom “Did Mrs. U. call you?” Mom said, “No, why? Should she have?” “Oh no, I just wondered.” I made up that excuse pretty fast.

* * *

Digging around on Mortified Live‘s website, I learned they’re seeking participants. And a Mortified Live event is scheduled April 12 in Chicago. I’m sincerely tempted.


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