Monday, August 6, 2012

Memoir of a Memoir, Week 1

I started writing Seven Years back in May, and since then I've made a lot of progress. However, my attempts to create this work have been like getting into a hot bath, over and over. Ideally, I would be able to just stay in until I am fully saturated and pruned, but the world I live in somehow requires me to be fully present.

Once I am ejected, however, it is all the more difficult to "get back in".

What could possibly tear me away, you ask? First, my day job, which not only taxes me of much of my mental energy, but also the stamina to use productively those few hours of writing time that I covet. With that a close second obstacle always seems to be my social life. I hate to say no to something, and whereas my poetry never seemed to suffer, my prose somehow always finds itself in the backseat to something else.

I struggle too with the memories. Some flow out of me, some need slight conjuring, and some need a swift kick to begin mapping their escape from the recesses. Because of my lack of energy and sometimes the depression some of the memories cause, I know not what to do with some of them. Therefore, I tend to skip over them and avoid the undertaking altogether.

I find the more I talk to people about my book, the more questions I receive about whether or not they are a character in it. Not much else. People worry I may lambaste them, others wonder if they'll even be mentioned at all. From those who fear criticism I receive no apology, just a worried and tentative look. I tend to avoid giving those a straight answer about how and who and what. I had decided to change names early on, which has seemingly given my truths much more freedom, but still therein lies the difficulty of having to face it.

There is at time frustration, that leads to inspiration. There is nothing like seeing one's idea played out in front of them by another artist. Example, I recently saw Coppola's Youth without Youth a very different story about a man who is obsessed with the origins of words (etymology), whose body evolves throughout time reflecting the supernatural quality of his inner transformation.

My work, Seven Years an Etymology of Self is loosely (without spoilers) the origins of a seven year old, who comes to terms with her adult story she has not yet encountered. I kept insisting to myself it was not the same story, but there was so much emphasis on the physical vs the emotional that I felt compelled to tackle my own story to both add and take away.

What I have learned about this process so far is that I have much to say about this process that shouldn't be left unsaid. I have also learned that my story is a valid one though I have done my best to convince myself otherwise. Next week I hope to talk more about my current progress and give up more of my own ghosts for the sake of moving forward.


  1. people will come to terms with being written about in a book. you won't come to terms with how they've affected you unless you get it out. i think it's great that you're doing this. i'm sure it's such a reflective process but i imagine it's also incredibly healing. xo

  2. Thanks so much Dana, you really help put it all back in perspective.


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