Saturday, August 12, 2017

Revelation On A Saturday Morning ...

I knew I'd written something similar before. I am a master rehasher. But, as with the process of writing and finding just the right words, sometimes I have to explain things to myself in a number of ways.

On June 21, 2016, I posted this and ended it thusly:

The notion that I might write something someday that will help someone in turn is what propels me, a moment of connection or recognition, the relief in knowing that someone else has felt the same way. I keep that in mind as I write. I don't write toward that end. I do my best not to contrive. But those moments do arrive. And for now, the someone I end up helping is me.

I read that again moments ago, pleased with myself for having had the thought and for having expressed it well, and then the gremlin in my head said, "You wrote that more than a year ago. Look at how much time you waste."

The gremlin has a point. But also, the gremlin can go to hell.

Because things take as long as they take.

And this morning, skimming a book from the library that I've renewed several times, I had a thought. It felt important but not fully formed. So I sat there a moment longer, talking to myself, as I am wont to do, as talking to myself helps me make my thoughts more concrete.

And I realized this:

I have been stalled on a memoir I've been noodling around with for a long time not because I don't want to write it – when I get an idea I like in my head, nothing stops me until I've realized it in the world – but because I didn't believe there was a point, a combination of the "Who are you to write this?" nagging and the sense that if I'm still reading books looking for guidance, if no one has the answer, what good would one more book – my book – do?

But, as I mentioned, I stayed on the path and realized that while I have read many, many books and while it is true that no book has held "the" answer I've sought, every book has contributed its own glimmer of illumination. Individually, no, no one phrase or sentence or sentiment has unlocked "the" door but collectively? They're the items on the list of a treasure hunt. They have led me to this place.

And this place is the moment of understanding that the memoir is worth writing a) because I need to write it but also b) because it might provide a glimmer that a reader may find helpful, even if all it is is a moment of relief to know that someone else has stood in that same place of not knowing.

At which point, I started to cry. Because that's what I do when I've untangled a knot of thoughts to discover the something that is true.

I still feel like I need help with the shape of the book, and that's where Marion Roach Smith will come in. Memoir is a doozy of a genre, turns out. It seems so unassuming on its face – tell a story about yourself! – but our lives comprise endless moments and anecdotes. They're not all germane. They require a great amount of sorting.

But first, I had to hear the nagging voice so I could respond to it.

This is my response.


Blogger Alison said...


8:07 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

:o )

8:41 AM  

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