Twice this week Big Brother has emailed comics to me. Speed Bump and Pickles. Go ahead and click on them. They are safe. You might even laugh. I can take a hint. I get it. “When’s the &#*$ memoir going to be done?”
So, what did I do? It’s obvious my blog posts have been a bare minimum. Do you get it now? I’ve been writing. It was a beautiful day out there today in my neighborhood but I didn’t step foot out the door. I got up, salutated the sun, drank my coffee, and glued my butt to the chair.
Morning affirmations: “I’m so close. I can finish this. Today.”
And I did.
Someone said “print it out.” I did that too, almost passing out from the fumes of 309 hot pages spitting out of my new laser printer. I punched holes, three sheets at a time, with my inexpensive paper punch. Found an old binder left over from tax course days.
I discovered I am not unique. Just like other writers who start a blog because they were told that we must build an online presence before we publish our books: I started my blog – my posts were fewer and fewer each month – I posted excuses for my absences. Now I find out that this might have been my biggest mistake:
Static author websites are great, and you’d be crazy not to have one. But starting an author blog is a different (and often tragic) story. In fact, your author blog might even kill your writing. There are hundreds of authors who started blogs, churned out posts for a year, and let it come to a dead stop.
to write a book that would tear your insides apart with laughter, not heartbreak.
to write tiny bites of my life with enough humor to leave my readers with howling belly aches over exaggerated blimps and bleeps.
to write the best selling memoir full of wit and wisdom, one that would live on the nightstand of every parent on this earth who might need a quick dose of humor following a particularly harrowing day.
to write with a keen sense of humor to keep my readers turning the pages (or swiping their Kindles) to the very last word.
to write the takeaways that would lead to joyful resolution for all who read my words.
Meanwhile I have
written the necessary 90,000 words of a pitiful and shitty first draft (ala Anne Lamott), just to get over it.
highlighted the questionabull, deleted the distractabull, rewritten the sustainabull, and added the conceivabull.
hit the muddy middle and squirreled away at least sixty hours of mindless FaceBook gaming in the last thirty days.
The time has come
to send away the critics and bring in the clowns.
to let go of the past.
to write that final chapter.
If nothing else comes of this
I can say I wrote a book
My inner self will be sufficiently mended.
I can be a better person.
I still have a sense of humor.
BUT maybe one day I’ll sit at the Algonquin table in Dorothy Parker’s mink coat signing copies of my phenomenal book.
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.