Friday, April 5, 2013
Memoir of a Memoir: Week 6
My latest endeavor is to begin reading "Tell it Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction" by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paula. I will write more about my experiences with the book in future entries. This is the first book I've picked up about the craft of memoir in quite a while, after doing some reading of other memoirs and after finally taking into a account what kind of memoir it will be. This will definitely fall in line with the spiritual conversion memoir, and therefore still has several working titles. I have a sense of humor about this, of course, especially since the actual writing is very close to being finished. My outline consists of seven series of seven distinct years between 2000-2012. Each subsequent series of the first revisits each year, building on the story that was introduced in the first series. One thing I hadn't considered when I began this work, was that the nature of my brain is to spiderweb off into many directions. I am now working on slightly similar, somewhat related works, simultaneously. I believed that some characters needed a deeper story, some needed their story told in a different way, and some, well, they needed to show their personal perspective in a way that isn't being told in this work. I am even trying my hand at ACTUAL FICTION! Which is an exciting development for me, and everyone that I've previously wrote about. In my last post I talked about friendships changing due to this writing process. I have felt such spiritual and emotional growth. I feel as if I woke up one morning and was confident in my abilities the way I had never been previously, and as such, gained a new sense of self. I feel joyful about my writing and being a writer. What had I felt before? Where was I coming from as a writer? In a place of loneliness and despair I was writing about the loneliness and despair of having to hide my writer-self. I realized my foolish ways and have broken out. I pride myself now in recognizing appropriate criticisms distinct from what is just moronically closed-minded, bigoted and envious. These childish actions now have so little baring on my work and my work habits, but I am mature enough to admit that they once had. Of course they would, that was the point of them. But cruel thoughtlessness now to me sounds like white noise. The worst comes in the form of indifference and silence. Any writer will tell you, that is what hurts the most. To be acknowledged only 35% of the time, when we aren't thinking about or talking about our writing. The weather, our children, our writing, ourselves... It's a tough lot for us writers, you know? We tend to write about narcissism around us to cope with the wrenching pain of it and then as a result we are accused of being narcissists ourselves. Unfair? Absolutely. Consequential? No. I do feel blessed now, knowing that. I feel blessed that something in my life that was once a source of sorrow now brings so much joy to my life. I am a better person for it, which is a happy side-effect. Even if I were broken, damaged, seemingly worthless, if I completely embodied an unread book, I would still shout the words off of my pages. Because being those things is beautiful and unattainable perfection is an ugly curse.