Where does your memoir begin? Where will it take you?
I begin with the Anne Lamott method – a sh*tty first draft. No one lays eyes on this piece of work. It will be tweaked and trimmed before I dare to read it to my memoir writing group. I am fortunate to have found this group of eight willing to listen and share each others stories with an openness and nonjudgmental sense of loyalty. We critique with compassion for each other, gently making suggestions – what to leave in, what to eliminate, what needs to be expanded.
There are times we hit a rough spot and we bring in the same piece of work week after week. Usually I take my piece home, make a few notes, and move on to the next chapter, keeping in mind that this is still not the final draft. It gives me the freedom to work through the cathartic phase of writing a painful memoir in a safe environment. This is where I learn what happened, where I gathered strength, and figure out where will I take the reader.
The original plan to hold off on writing this memoir until resolution is conceived was procrastination on my part. I didn’t want to write down the gritty details. I wanted to come out looking like the person who exists on FaceBook – the one always smiling, looking good, enjoying a wonderful life. The more I write the more I realize the truth – I am that person portrayed on FaceBook. I am in a good place. Perhaps resolution comes within the process, a slow mining of the gold within a story, growing from the experiences, and knowing there is much more good to come.
“Ubermensch.Ubermensch. Ubermensch,” I listen closely to the pronunciation over and over on my phone at the breakfast table. It’s part of the morning routine, finding the word of the day in my inbox. I can’t help but giggle when I look up the definition.
“Uber… what. What’s so funny?” hubby asks when I begin to giggle.
“Oh nothing,” I say as I switch over to the camera app on my phone and aim across the breakfast table. There’s a hint of a smile as the flash goes off.
“Don’t post that,” he says.
“What makes you think I’d post this one?” I ask, considering if I should crop out the message on his t-shirt. I decide to leave it there.
“If something happens to you, they’ll come after me,” he cautions as he looks down at his shirt.
“If you didn’t lend your shirts out, the message wouldn’t be there,” I say. My interpretation has a different take.
“So what does it mean?” he asks.
“Your shirt?” I ask.
“No, Uber… however you say it,” he says.
“Look it up. You may be surprised,” I respond. He always thinks I bring out the worst in him and fears what may come up in my memoir. Should he be worried?
Dictionary.com defines it as “superman” while Wordsmith.org defines it as “an ideal man; also used ironically.” Wikipedia rips the word apart from it’s German origin to popular culture, a complicated dissertation. For me, I’ll just settle for the irony of it all and get back to the memoir.