I could just begin writing and pretend, since it's Friday, that so much time hasn't passed between my posts. But I will just say I've been having one heck of a time trying to sort through ALL things with this whole book experience. I love "first times" for things. They make you stronger, provide life lessons, and increase your capacity for acceptance, patience, aptitude, grace and sometimes exasperation!
As the new year appeared, I realized I needed a new approach to finishing all the things involved with writing, finishing and publishing a book. I was beating myself up pretty successfully when out of the blue I received a Facebook request from someone I didn't recognize. Following the request was a private message explaining she (Rosy) was married to my cousin, whom I'd not seen nor heard from since I was in elementary school. That led to connection with a female cousin, his sister, who I absolutely adored and thought hung the moon (as her younger cousin). She was a beautiful young lady and I admired and idolized everything about her. Lynn and Kathy are both in my book, as their dad was my uncle (mom's side) and their mom was such a delightful bright spark in every summer week or Christmas holiday I spent in the Appalachian Mountains with my grandparents. I was an incredibly shy little girl, but Aunt Jean always made me feel safe and loved. There is an additional cousin from that family, Jimmy. He was already off in the military when I developed memories of anything cousin related.
Sadly, we all lost touch when my mom died (1991) and hadn't seen each other since I was 16. Mama and Kathy were penpals, so that connection was severed when she passed. JOYOUS and GRATEFUL are the first words that come to my mind to express how I feel. It has been SO MUCH FUN catching up all those years! As you can imagine, it's been a lot of email writing and remembering! And so much happy dancing! (Thanks, Facebook!)
Gratefully, along with the reunion came a lot of questions about my manuscript. For example, is the account I tell about others really my story to tell? It's a lot of sorting through my heart and head trying to decide what does and doesn't belong to me, what transparencies I am rock solid with writing and putting out into the world, and what needs to be treasured and savored as sacred amongst the others and myself. A common thread I've been tripping over since the very beginning of this writing journey.
Memoirs are tricky, saying the very least. Memory plays a big part in pulling together things from, in this case, longer than half a century in the past. There is photographic evidence of almost every single thing I've written about ... so piecing things together is possible. But a 50 year old memory is not necessarily the way it happened for everyone involved. It seems we all remember things differently, as they impacted one's self.
I was having such a procrastination event before our "cousin reconnect". I'm sure it was because they were searching for us and the universe just knows how to make things work. I am grateful to not have hit "FORMAT" before our reunion, because I now have a bit more of an understanding about what questions to ask myself before I commit to publication. But here is my question to any of you who have written memoirs out there and are reading this,
How do you know when to just say, "That's enough. It's a go!" ????
My struggle is within, as my heart and head scramble to reach negotiations on what stays, what goes, what changes and just exactly WHAT is WHAT!!! I have taken the first quarter of this brand new, sparkling, hopeful year, 2021 to sort it all out and get the memoir finished, published, out in the world and off of my "to do" list. Bare with me as I get there. Maybe reading through this process will help someone out there with their memoir writing.
Happy New Year!