Sunday, August 3, 2008

Update on my memoir

A friend e-mailed me recently to ask if my memoir is done.

My memoir is done. I don’t mean done as in ready to publish. I mean done, as in finished and safely tucked away. It served its purpose by bringing me full circle and allowing me to exorcise the demons of the past. I looked them in the eye, came to terms with our unresolved issues, and let them go.

My life wasn’t extraordinary. Millions of people went through the turmoil of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. They indulged in sex, drugs and rock and roll. Millions of people had cancer. Millions of people went back to school, had several careers, moved across country and changed their lives completely. Maybe none of them experienced things the way I did, but my life wasn’t extraordinary.

When you start with a premise that isn’t extraordinary, the writing MUST be. My writing was good, but I couldn’t make my story extraordinary. To do that would require trashing my family and throwing my life open to the scrutiny of friends and acquaintances. Neither of those appeals to me.

No matter how difficult my past relationships were or still are, throwing them under the bus doesn’t solve anything. Exposing my version of their flaws would reopen old wounds and embarrass them. Nothing I said to bring closure to the issues would stop the pain and anger they would feel from reading my truth. No amount of praise or explanations from me would dull the pain.

My family and friends aren’t perfect – not even close – but they aren’t monsters. They deserve the opportunity to live the rest of their lives in peace – far away from me. We have a truce. We have limited but polite contact and we all do our own thing. Occasionally we see each other for brief periods then run to our respective homes and de-stress.

I have a happy life now – including great friends, a good job, financial security, mostly good health and the world’s sweetest dog. I don’t want to jeopardize that by publishing my memoir. Any money, or notoriety received wouldn’t be worth it. The price is too high.

I’m slowly working on a cozy mystery and having a wonderful time developing the story and characters.

And my memoir is done.


ChrisEldin said...

It served a purpose for you-writing a memoir. But I do believe if you don't want to publish, you can take bits and pieces and change names and use them in other works. The emotionally-charged writing is usually more authentic and compelling. This time spent will be used for many purposes....

Good for you for completion. You should feel very proud.

Bernita said...

Wise woman.
And in addition to exorcism, you proved to yourself you can complete a project.

Travis Erwin said...

Chris and bernita said what i was goingn to point out.

Merry Monteleone said...

AW, congratulations on completion, and bigger congratulations on moving forward with your writing.

Besides, fiction's more fun... you can kill off your family members in writing and still have the fiction disclaimer to keep from getting sued :-) win-win.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

good for you!

Robin said...

How about publishing your memoir under my name? Then your family won't be embarrassed, and my family will say, "Huh?"

Mary Witzl said...

I've got a memoir that, I have been told, would sell like hotcakes if I were only famous.

So here is my clever plan: Let's take Robin's suggestion, but I'll say that your memoir is MY story! Then when the truth comes out that I've lied spectacularly, we'll both be in the spotlight. Oprah will want us on her show. You'll have agents lining up for your books, and I'll have the fame that will help me turn my memoir into a sure fire sale!

Sigh.(Seriously, I agree with Chris here. And you. Memoirs are a great way to get closure and explore material.)

The Anti-Wife said...

Chris, Bernita, Travis, Betsy,
It did serve a purpose and I feel much better because of it. 65,000 words and some incredible lessons in grammar later, my writing is better and so is my emotional state.

The Anti-Wife said...

"you can kill off your family members in writing and still have the fiction disclaimer to keep from getting sued "
Love it! Or better yet, I can turn them into nice, loving people. Now that would be great fiction!

The Anti-Wife said...

Robin and Mary,
Or, you can both take parts of my story and embellish them then claim your stories are true. I'll expose both of you, we'll all be on Oprah and Letterman, the books will sell like hotcakes and we'll be snickering as we thrash wildly in our piles of money.

Ello said...

Well I think it is wonderful that you wrote it and I think that you are not publishing it for all the right reasons. Good for you! I think you have achieved something wonderful!

Jess said...


An interesting view on the relationships...I rather enjoyed that comment, though processing will always take time to discover.

I think the forgetting is a natural part of grief, and then the acceptance brings back the forgotten memories to make way for new ones. If one forgets, one makes the same mistakes over and over again. The humans are relatively stupid in this respect, unless we can learn.

Robin said...

Mary: You devil! Steal my evil plan, will you? Well, I won't have it! How about I publish Anti's memoir, she publishes yours, and you publish mine. Then we all go on Oprah and play "To Tell the Truth"?

Beware - people will think you're a weird short Jewish girl with a trash mouth. You'll be nagged incessantly chapters 1 - 12.

wordtryst said...

...and who knows? After you're famous for your cozy mysteries someone will offer big money for your memoir - and you've written it already!