ESSAYS  by Marko Fong



Part I: An Owners Manual

Excerpt from The I-Story: First Person Fiction
Petaluma, 2011

This entire essay plus “Part II: The Flashlight Voice” may be read online at (coming soon).

Any writer who’s ever written in first person has to deal with it. It doesn’t matter if you write about you, someone a lot like you, or about a “you” who grew wings and a tail then shared a pizza with aliens on a planet with three suns; people assume the “I” in the story had to be you. It’s a pain (especially when it really is you), but it’s also a testament to the power and authority of first person as a narrative voice. Readers instinctively grant it an authenticity that no other narrative mode commands.
     I marvel at the marketing genius of Apple Computer with the I-Pod, I-Phone, I-Pad. For thirty years, Apple has made billions by selling their products as unique and inimitable in a market where everyone else copies and tries to undersell. In other words, anything that’s not an I-Whatever is either a fake or lower quality. Speaking of which, I hear their follow-up to the I-Phone is the I-Clone. It’s pretty much you, but it comes with a proprietary dock and it’s more stylish than the run of the mill you. The company projects that some time in the next fifty years, the I-Clone will replace children. The “I” in Apple’s product names implicitly draws on the power of first person.
     Fortunately, for writers who can’t pay the premium that Apple products command, the I-story predates the computer. The most iconic first line of any American novel is, “Call me Ishmael,” Moby Dick. Or, how about, “You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter” The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Or way back, “Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago,” Don Quixote. Suck on this, Steve Jobs—the I-book is safely in the public domain though Google and Amazon are doing their best to change that.


the I-Story: First Person Fiction, by Marko Fong


This is a basic chapbook, printed on white opaque paper with a green laser-printed, index cover. To see an enlargement of the cover, click on image above.

28 pages


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