Memoir

It’s strange the things that stands out in one’s memory. I can remember the sun blazing down on the top of their car and how the stocky, mustached man and the petite, brown-haired woman squinted as they came to stand in front of our gate. It was a hot day.

The man called out a greeting in Spanish. Nervously, my eyes shifted to meet Hannah’s and I could see my uneasiness reflected in her expression. Who are they? A few seconds passed and then he called again but this time it wasn’t a greeting: it was my father’s name. How did he know Daddy’s name? I wondered. A moment later, our front door slammed.

Daddy was walking down towards the gate.

A prickle of unease ran the length of my spine. Our house seemed unusually silent. Why couldn’t I hear anyone talking? Why weren’t the little ones laughing? Why wasn’t Mommy calling for lunch? My heart pounded faster as I shifted uncomfortably on my knees.

We could see the strangers were talking to my father, though we couldn’t hear them. I could only see the side of Dad from where I knelt but I could tell that he was frowning. Hannah wondered aloud if they could be customers but I shook my head. No. There was something different about these people. Daddy’s customers didn’t look like that.

It’d been several minutes. The strangers didn’t go away, even when Daddy left them there and returned to the house. We watched them in silence for a few seconds, wondering. When the door behind us opened, we all jumped, startled.

It was Jenna. Gone from her face was the reproof and hidden amusement we’d seen only moments before. Now, her eyes were full of fear and a barely concealed dread. Her mouth was a grim line as she went straight to the bureau and began rummaging through the clothes. Matthew stood behind her. His blond hair brushed his long eyelashes but he didn’t bother to push it away, only stood quietly, watching his mother. I stared at him. The strangeness of the moment kept me silent but questions burned in my mind. We watched as Jenna pulled out a blue, button-down shirt from the dresser.

 “Honey, let’s put this on,” she said to Matthew, helping him pull off his plain tee-shirt. “Listen to me, sweetheart, you don’t have to answer any questions if you don’t want to. You know that, right? You just smile and hold Daddy’s hand and everything will be alright.” He nodded and she straightened his shirt, brushed at his hair. His eyes were round and solemn. He took his mother’s hand when she reached for him and followed her from the room. The door clicked shut behind them and I looked at my sisters in bewilderment. Their eyes mirrored mine. Together, we turned back to the window and saw that strangers were still standing there… except now, Daddy was walking down the driveway towards them, and he had Matthew with him.

Matthew looked like a sheep being led to slaughter, shuffling along slowly behind our father. His eyes were on the ground, his hand clutched tightly around Daddy’s. I shot Hannah another look filled with dread. What now?

The strangers stared at Matthew and the man questioned our father. Daddy’s face was unreadable. He didn’t let go of Matthew’s hand and at some comment of the man’s, he turned quickly and brought Matthew back inside. I felt a stab of relief. Safe again, he’s safe.

But would the strangers never leave? Daddy had gone back out to them, now carrying Matthew’s basket of supplements. I shook my head, frustrated.

 “How come they wanted to see Matthew?” I asked Hannah. “Who are they anyway? What do they want?”

She shrugged, her eyes darting to mine and then away again. Something’s not right. I understood the glance as easily as if she’d spoken aloud. I nodded slightly and looked at Abby to see if she had noticed our exchange. Her eyes were wider than usual and her mouth was slightly open as she stared out the dusty window screen. She hadn’t.

We watched Daddy show the strangers Matthew’s medicine and we watched as he showed them proof of Bernadette’s graduate’s degree in nursing and we watched as he showed them the doctor’s notes on Matthew’s condition and progress. It seemed like forever before the strangers finally got back into their car and drove away, leaving as quickly and as suddenly as they’d arrived.

The car hadn’t even disappeared down the road before we were off the bed and running from the room.

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Memoir, Writing

reflections

Just over a year ago, I wrote this post on my former blog a couple of weeks after completing my first memoir. I thought it’d be fun to share it here as it has inspired me as I begin writing the second half of my story:

• • •

Jan. 5, 2015

I finished the book.

It’s so weird and awesome to say that. I finished it. It’s taken me several years (6.5 to be exact). I started writing it just before turning fourteen. Maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long if I didn’t need to learn so much, if I had already had within me all the experience and skill that years of writing brings, if life hadn’t gotten in the way multiple times, and if I had had a fully-functioning computer from the start to it’s finish. (As it happens, I’m still bumming off of my sister’s fully-functioning laptop, ha di ha.) It’s something I have worked towards for so long. How can it be finished?! Gahh.

And it’s only ever been real in my head. That’s the weird part. Friends have drifted in and out of our lives for as long as I can remember and I’ve never spoken about my book, not unless asked (my father would make a great agent: he tells everybody and anybody!). Even speaking about it amongst the family is something I’ve shied away from: the subject (and all the memories it brings with it) is a sure way to shut down their faces and bring that certain look of silent torment to their eyes. I have avoided it at all costs. Did I have their full support and the constant assertion that if I ever needed help it was mine? Absolutely. But writing this book was still lonely. While life went on and we taught ourselves to forget, I went back. Over and over again. I went back while we struggled to make ends meet with no income, living off coupons and our friends’ charity. I went back while we welcomed two more babies into the family. I went back while the owner of our old house brought us to court and marshals stalked our gate and the electricity got turned off (…and stayed off). I went back while we moved into the apartment of a friend and hunkered down for three years of cramped living while looking for a new home. It became a silent world within my head inhabited only by me, something I couldn’t share with anyone else… no one but God.

He was patient with me. Whenever I would hit a rough patch and stumble into a memory I wasn’t prepared to face, I would pull a Jonah and run to the land where procrastination thrives: the Internet. I would remain there for several weeks and then come crawling back, stricken with guilt. I was plagued with a sense of inferiority: how could I write a book? Having grown up an avid reader, books were something I was only too familiar with… I read anything I could get my hands on: Austen, Dickens, Alcott, Bronte. As a teenager, my horizons broadened: E.M. Forster, John Steinbeck, Salman Rushdie, Irving Stone. My standards were high; my expectations even higher. I didn’t want to just tell our story – I wanted to write something epic, something revolutionary, something life-changing. Something that would climb its way into its reader’s heart and stay there. I wrote and rewrote the manuscript multiple times. It was never good enough; it could always be better. I wrestled with my sense of duty: why was I doing this? Was there a point to all this private torture? Would it do any good?

Towards the end, the real thing that kept me going was digging deep into the nitty-gritty details of what Matthew [my brother] suffered and realizing all over again the absolute anguish that his last five months of life contained. Don’t I owe it to him, to tell his story? Isn’t it the least I could do? To make sure that people don’t forget, to make sure that his name and his existence doesn’t get swallowed up by time?

This year is going to bring so much change, I can feel it already. It’s daunting, but I’m praying that God gives me strength to face it…

Last year did bring a lot of change, but it wasn’t the kind of change I expected. I learned so much though, and I’m praying that God gives me the means to go forward with self-publishing my memoir this year.

I hope this post inspired you… there’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment that comes after completing this kind of project, especially one that lasted as long as writing my memoir did. God willing the second doesn’t take as long – ha!

Memoir, Writing

 

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While I was writing my first memoir, I remember Googling phrases like how to write a memoir, how to write an emotional story, and how to write an impacting book. I had no idea what I was doing, but being an avid reader, I knew what I wanted to do:

I wanted to write in a way that impacted my reader.

I wanted to make sure that I achieved the kind of story that left a lasting impression.

Finding the answers to my puzzled questions proved difficult. I couldn’t find much on writing a memoir, let alone writing an emotionally impacting memoir. In the end, I had to find out for myself the answers to my questions.

It’s my hope that this post can offer the kind of useful and practical tips that I wished someone could have told me way back when!

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Determine your why

First things first, you need to determine your why. Why are you writing your story?

Are you writing about the death of a loved one? Why? To heal? To find answers? To share what you learned through it? What is the reader going to take away from your account?

Discovering the answers to these questions is a process, I think, and you may not find them until you’ve reached the end of your tale. That’s okay. But it’s important that you know why you’re writing your story and what you want to achieve with it.

As hard as it is to swallow, our life-changing moments may not seem that big of a deal to other people. From what I’ve learned, there has to be a redeeming element, such as:

  • incredible writing
  • a lesson learned
  • the quality of forgiveness
  • the process of overcoming something, etc.

Don’t write just to say “this thing happened to me and it was awful/amazing/horrible/incredible.” Your reader will go, “yeah, and?” Dig deep within yourself and find the triumph, find the lesson learned, so that your reader can walk away feeling enriched by the experience of reading your story.

Let’s look at The Railway Man by Eric Lomax, for instance. Semi-autobiographical, this memoir relates the traumatic experiences that Lomax underwent as a Japanese POW working the Burma-Siam railway. Lomax was tortured by his Japanese captors, and though he survived, suffered from PTSD for the fifty years following WWII. While this is a tragic and remarkable story in itself, what makes it absolutely unforgettable is the redemptive conclusion given at the end of the book: this man not only finds it within himself to forgive one of the men that had participated in his torture, but ends up becoming friends with him. How amazing is that?!

This is the quality that you need to find in your story. The one that makes the reader say, “Wow, this really inspired me” or, “this so perfectly describes the grieving process – I related so much!”

What do you think the reader is going to take away from your story?

Answering this question is the first step towards writing an emotionally impacting memoir.

Read other people’s memoirs

Reading is so important when it comes to writing – and this applies to all writing, not just memoir. How else will you know what’s good or what works or what impacts you and gets inside you and imprints itself on your heart?

In answering these questions you are developing your taste. You are fine-tuning your palette. Read everything you can get your hands on, but when you study memoir, try and figure out what it is that gets to you.

Why did such-and-such a book make you cry? What was it exactly? How did the writer set the tone of the book? How did it make you feel?

Writing  Tip:

When you find yourself impacted by a particular writer, go back and read their writing over and over again until you determine what it is that impressed you so deeply.

Was it the evocative imagery? The unforgettable story? The particular writing style? You can learn from both the good and the bad. Where did such-and-such a writer go wrong? Why didn’t the recounting of their tragic story leave you in tears?

Going back to The Railway Man for an example, I can say that while the story is incredible and while I felt deeply for the writer, I didn’t cry and I didn’t feel particularly invested in the story. This was, I believe, mostly due to the fact that Lomax’s writing gives off a kind of distant air – it’s completely understandable, don’t get me wrong, considering what he experienced. But it doesn’t make for a very emotionally invest-able story. Dialogue is at the absolute minimum. He tells the story from beginning to end without showing us very much of what happened. Which leads me to my next point.

Showing and telling

When it comes to memoir, I have a theory.

My theory is that the writer must be a very masterful storyteller. One must learn how to bring their reader to the very edge of an emotional precipice and display the churning waters of anguish below without shoving the reader off the cliff into it’s depths. To do that would be to lose the reader forever; how will you draw them back into the story if they have drowned in the pathos of your memories? It takes skill and a good deal of thought to learn how to visit those churning waters while always giving the reader ample oxygen to breathe.

To do this, I believe, is by alternately employing the methods of showing and telling in your writing.

My interpretation of showing is this: “Showing” is when you paint a picture in the reader’s mind. You don’t just say, “We had some bad times and I wasn’t handling them well.” You show, when you say, “After the baby died, I stopped eating. My stomach knotted whenever I tried to put food in my mouth. Haunting memories of his last moments tormented me in a slide of gruesome images.”

Do you see the difference? It elicits an emotional response in the reader. It paints a picture in their mind. It leaves an imprint, and helps them better relate with the character.

In memoir, both showing and telling have their place. It boils down to the writer and their own particular style, of course, and some writers do very well with only telling their story. Their writing is so clever that they can get away with it. Others manage showing very well. Personally, I think the best writers are those who can masterfully blend both. 

For me, the stories leave the greatest imprint on my heart are those that cleverly employ the method of showing. Show me what it was like the night that your life fell apart. I want to hear the cicadas singing outside your bedroom window and feel the chill of the night breeze on my skin before the pounding of your heart sets the hairs on the back of my neck on end. Do you see? It is not enough to say “I was lying in bed when my mother came into the room and gave me the worst news of my life.” Bring the moments to life. Paint a picture inside my head so that I’m there with you, experiencing every shift of fate as if it were playing on a television screen in my mind.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Anton Chekhov

Trial and error

At the end of the day, it all boils down to this:

Write.

Write badly. Write until you learn to write better, and then keeping writing. Don’t stop. Don’t let your inadequacy hold you back. You may never feel fully satisfied with your writing, but I promise you, if you keep at it, you will come to a place where you find your rhythm. You’ll figure out what works.

It’s in the wrestling, in the endless rewrites, in the exhaustive edits, in the constant revising, that you find your style. 

I wrote several drafts of my book. Like Eric Lomax of The Railway Man, I often resorted to telling my story rather than showing it. Showing is, admittedly, more arduous to the writer, especially when it comes to relating painful memories. It requires reliving the experience in a very profound way. It is easier to say, “My father died and I was devastated,” than it is to dig deep into your memories and reawaken those painful moments that encompassed that tragedy.

Learning how to write is a part of telling your story. You want to do it justice: I know I did. To write badly would be an unjust tribute to my experiences. So I learned how to write… how good of a writer I am now is something I don’t think I can determine but I know I’m better than when I started, and maybe that’s the only measure a writer can allow herself.

Here are some bits of advice, as well as suggestions that will help you in your quest:

  • It helps to work in other genres, to experiment and see what works.
  • Try writing a short story or work on a fictional novel. Wattpad is a great online tool for this.
  • Share your stories and get feedback. See what other people think. Ask for their constructive criticism.
  • Be patient with yourself.
  • Don’t write to write a bestseller: write to tell your story as best as you know how.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Learn from your mistakes.

You can do this!

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.

Anne Lamott

If this post helped you at all, please let me know in the comments below! And, if you’re on a quest to write your own memoir, let me know how it’s going for you. 🙂

Memoir, Writing

 

healing trauma

“Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.”

Thomas M. Cirignano

For those of you who have read Our Story, you know already that I lost a brother; I actually lost two – the first was eight, the other was only five weeks old. I was also, along with my siblings, removed from my home by CPS and placed in foster care twice. It goes without saying that these were traumatizing and life-altering experiences, and since then, I have had to live with the fear that it could happen again. I have had to endure the nightmares and face the old memories of loss, of separation, of tragedy.

Somewhere along the way I got it into my head that I needed to write our story. I was only ten, but I had no qualms about doing it. I knew it needed to be told, and it seemed to make sense to me that I should do it.

At thirteen I started writing.

At first, I could only work on my book during the afternoon or the evening. I was setting myself up for a miserable day if I worked on it in the morning. Depression would set in and I would find myself confronted with the all-too-fresh memories, the ones that I only wanted to bury away.

 “…it takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both.”
James Baldwin

It was a battle to write. It is still a battle to write. It’s only gotten incrementally easier, and that’s only because I’m slightly more confident now that I have several years worth of experience beneath my belt.

But if someone were to ask me today if I felt healing through the writing of my memoir, I honestly wouldn’t know what to say.

Writing my memoir was messy. It was confusing. It was painful and scary. It is only upon reflection that I can look back and see the ways in which I was able to grow from it.

“The features of character are carved out of adversity.”
Rick Barnett

I made peace with certain memories.

This seems strange to say, but I found acceptance in my heart about certain incidents that happened after I wrestled them out on paper. Somehow, seeing it there in black and white was a form of restitution. Everything was stripped from me as a child – my family, my home, my security, my innocence, even my sense of safety. Being able to put into words what that was like was powerful. It didn’t restore what had been taken – only God could do that – but it gave me hope that by sharing what I had gone through, I could lay to rest the things that had always haunted me privately.

I found a voice.

I felt powerless as a child, a victim of circumstance, of injustice and prejudice.

I read in this superb article a quote by David Kessler, that “Grief must be witnessed.” I so completely agree. It is terrifyingly lonely to experience loss of any kind. We feel as if no one on the face of the earth has ever known the depths of what we are experiencing, and to be unable to express our pain is a choking feeling that leads to suppression; it leads to feeling invalidated.

As a child, I was denied a voice. I felt hidden in plain sight. People walked all around me and they seemed oblivious – in a sphere all on their own, untouched by tragedy of any kind. Did no one see what I was going through? Did no one care? Being able to – finally – tell what I had experienced was liberating. In some ways, writing restored elements of what was stolen from me.

I faced the ones I was afraid of.

There were men and women involved in what happened to me whom I hold, in my heart, most responsible. I am on a journey, right now, towards complete forgiveness, but these faces were the ones that haunted me at night. How could I face these people, even in my writing? How could I bear to repaint their features so they became real again, to infuse their words with those accents I despised?

At first, writing about them angered me. At times, I was afraid. I feared the repercussions. For a long time, I was afraid of turning 21, because I was afraid they would find me – they would track me down and accuse me of libel, of defamation of character. I insisted upon being kind to their memories, even when they did not merit it. I wrote as truthfully as possible, and when I was unsure, I erased rather than proving, even to a fractional degree, that what their ghosts ranted at me in my dreams was true.

But eventually, I grew accustomed to seeing their names in black and white, over and over again. I stopped seizing up with dread and anger upon facing their existences in my story. I confronted every terrible moment, and I triumphed over them by writing them. Rewriting them. Reading them over and over and over again. I didn’t let their strength prevail against my need to see this story told.

“Aren’t autobiographies born in a question we ask ourselves: how did I get to this point? Don’t we look back over the path and tell ourselves a story? This is how it happened. This is who I am.”
― Frederick Weisel

How did writing – in any of it’s forms – help you come to terms with your past? Have you ever considered writing a memoir?

Memoir, Writing

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“My book… was written on stalled subway cars, noisy cafes, and park benches…”

— Lincoln Michel

I wrote my book in between music classes on loose-sleeve paper in a library. My oboe sat on the floor at my feet and in my ears I had a cheap pair of earphones. I couldn’t write much in those days – the most I ever finished was a chapter or two. It was still too raw.

I wrote my book in the public library with my father at my side. He was creating a multilevel marketing company; I was writing books. I brought my USB stick and inserted it into the old computer. The librarian hovered nearby, anxious to be of assistance. When the afternoon had drawn to a close, we could hear the chains jingling on the gate outside, signaling the end of the work day. We would pack up our things – my father, his papers, me, my bag – and say goodbye to the librarian. We rode home through the city on our bikes.

I wrote my book at night, when the generator had run out of gas, and I was all alone in my Dad’s office downstairs in the dark, my laptop hooked up to a cable that ran out the screen door and to the car that was parked ten feet away, the hood up, wires entangling around the small electrical box that was attached to the car’s battery. We had no electricity during that year and had to charge our electronics by the battery in the car; every half hour, I would go out to the car, climb into the front seat, and turn on the engine, letting the battery recharge while I sat in the dark, damp silence.

I wrote my book sitting on my bed, staring at the unpainted walls of my new bedroom. Sweat formed on my upper lip, my temples, and I shifted uncomfortably, staring at the same pages on the same old Word document. Nothing changed much during those months.

I wrote my book on the back porch of our apartment, beneath the shade of a single tree – the which I often stared at, wondering how it got there, surrounded as it was by buildings and broken down gates. The fading sun glinted on my laptop screen.

I wrote my book after poring over old pictures, articles, newspaper clippings, journals, and medical notes. I compiled a box full of this sort of memorabilia.

I wrote my book at the dining room table. The television was blaring and the children played on the balcony outside the window. Trucks blared as they lumbered past and tires screeched as teenagers in their cheap, little cars raced past our humble little apartment – the Bucket House, as we called it, because of the leaks in the ceiling – blasting reggaeton music.

I wrote my book on a breaking down laptop, the wire rigged up to keep the battery charging. I kept it on a little desk next to my bed. No more sitting at the dining room table or hiding on the porch out back. I was stuck on my bed, staring at the now painted walls, struggling – as I had for years now – to put down on paper the words that tumbled around inside my head.

I wrote my book on the bedroom floor of a stranger’s house, now on my sister’s laptop. “Hiding out again?” People joked with me. I didn’t try to explain.

I wrote my book sitting in the living room of our new house. It was quieter now. The children still played and now there was the barking of dogs and the neighing of horses, but the trucks and screeching cars were gone. I wrote every day and the months passed quickly. At night, I scribbled my thoughts on scraps of paper in the dark and in the morning, tried to decipher them.

On New Years Day, 2015, I told my father that I had a present for him. I was newly twenty. The project that had encompassed my life from the time I was thirteen until the week I left behind the number nineteen had come to something of an end.

“I finished my book,” I told him.

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

Neil Gaiman

Writing prompt: where and how did you write your book? 

Memoir

The last couple of weeks have been quite off-kilter. I feel slightly scatterbrained and slightly all over the place (but just slightly… let’s get that straight). Buuuuuut!

I’ve gotten my manuscript printed! Isn’t it pretty?!

manuscript

I’ve already read through most of it. Reading it objectively? Close to impossible. But I’m trying. I’m trying also not to judge it too harshly, although that’s my first instinct. Every sentence, every word, every comma – I want to study and obsess over it and try to recreate it. To achieve what? I don’t even know. I remember somebody, a friend of my family’s, mentioning that I’ll never be 100% satisfied with it – that I should just try to be 80% satisfied with it. I think I am. Or maybe 63%, give or take.

Okay, 27%.

Does there ever come a point where I stop being so hard on myself? If not, what does this say for my writing, for my desire to learn or grow? Should I be so hard on myself? I don’t know, I don’t know… Doesn’t seem like I have the choice not to be.

In the meantime, I keep telling myself this:

A professional writer is an amateur writer that did not quit.

Richard Bach

Memoir, Writing

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Now that the outlines are out of the way, I have turned to working on the final chapter of my book. It seems a little ridiculous, even to me, that it has taken so long. I’ve already had a few people read my manuscript and I’ve had to embarrassingly inform them all that the last chapter is still in the works. Today I sat down to work on it and I was surprised, yet again, by the total lack of inspiration that I found myself confronted with.

I think it’s a combination of the fact that somewhere in between announcing to my family that I had finished my book and present time, my brain has switched off writing. Not writing in general, but writing, specifically, related to producing new content for this book. I feel like my inner writing genius is kicking back somewhere in the figurative Bahamas, sipping on a piña colada, while I roam empty beaches, shouting desperately for help.

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and it’s that hard.”

Neil Gaiman

Now that I know what my direction is in terms of publishing, I’m more keen than ever to make sure that my book says what I want it to say, in the way that I want to say it. And that pressure only intensifies when I think about the ending and having it hit all those marks that I want it to.

But the inspiration just isn’t flowing.

It’s sitting like a stagnant pond instead of gushing like a river.

I have several pages worth of unfinished sentences, broken statements, and randomly placed paragraphs, and it all seems so unrelated. I know what I’m trying to say… I think. But it’s not meshing. It’s not coming together. I’m a little perplexed even as I write this.

I want to find that niche of inspiration, that little burning fire within that puts the wind in the fingers, the words on the paper, but I’m stuck.

I’m reading this article on overcoming writer’s block and it’s super helpful, but anyone else have any tips for me? I feel like I just need to get in the right mindset and it will just come together perfectly, but that mindset is being annoyingly elusive.

Abjgkrnlgbrfehgbvlkh perfectly sums up my current mood. I think it’s fitting that this isn’t a word.

Any tips on finding inspiration? What works for you, fellow friend?

 

Memoir

Today was a hard day.

It shouldn’t have been. I shouldn’t have let the drifting words of another’s opinion affect me so deeply. It didn’t make me doubt my skills or my vocation. But it made me question the execution of a certain task… which led me to go back and reread everything I’ve ever written on the theme, suddenly overcome with the sensation that I did it wrong – I did it all wrong, and it’s not good enough and I wasn’t the right one for the job and I’m not qualified and it’s trash and it’s not going to leave the impact or the mark that I’d hoped it would.

As a result, I’ve spent the entire afternoon scouring certain sections of my writing, growing more and more overwhelmed and depressed as I went.

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It’s so easy to forget, isn’t it, the things that God says about you when confronted with the opinions or the perception of others. It’s so easy to value their words over the Word. It’s so easy to discard the encouragement and nurturing the Lord has given you in your task when the enemy attack with the doubt and dismay.

The truth is that God did choose me to walk this path. He gave me this passion for His own good purpose. He is using me as He chooses. He has shown me that He is truly leading me, and that He really does have a purpose for me. The words of man can’t change that. I can’t allow myself to be so fragile.

My mother, wise woman that she is, told me what I needed to hear. I’m still struggling beneath the lingering echoes of those discouraging words but in the end, doubt can never prevail. God will comfort and succor me. He will draw me back into the rest found beneath the shadow of His wings. And this care I will cast on Him, as I have so many others.

“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

 

Memoir

Technically, I don’t think talking about my book should be slotted into the boring category. But bringing you all (I say “you all” to trick myself into thinking that there are actual human beings reading this) up to speed in terms of where I’m at with my memoir and when it will be published and all that good stuff could potentially be a boring subject, depending on how we go about it.

So I’m cutting to the chase:

1. My book (which I started writing at thirteen years old and then promptly rewrote about 7 billion times because I’m a nutty perfectionist) is about 98% done. I’m still working on the final chapter, which, if all goes according to plan, should be a knock-out blend of legalistic jargon, climactic style summaries, and a crazy amount of foreshadowing to really get everyone ready for the following book. (Because it’s a two-part story.) That’s the objective, anyway. Right now, it’s just five pages of unfinished sentences and weird ramblings on Communism and Karl Marx.

2. I’m in the process of getting endorsements. I had no idea what this meant up until a few months ago (I thought it had to do with financial support). Basically, it’s when people read your book before you get it published and give you a blurb on it… the goal being that you get some incredible reviews to decorate your book cover. I’ve spent the last two days sending out business emails on the subject (can you hear me squealing? I feel SO grown up right now); as posh and professional as that sounds, it’s pretty much me just contacting people that I think could be sympathetic to my cause and asking them if they would pretty please, just maybe, you know, if they felt like it, read my book and, I don’t know, tell me what they think? Using big words, of course.

3. I have still not decided if I’m going to self-publish or try to get a traditional publisher. WordPress themes, decisions that could potentially alter – on a grand scale – the outcome of my book… it’s all the same on my indecision charts. Granted, I only started to learn the tricks of the trade this past year. Up until very recently I thought publishing my book would be as simple as packing it up in a brown, paper package tied up with string and mailing it off to the Big Publishing Houses in hopes that one of them will discover my innate genius and want to work with me. (This delusion, naturally, being a result of my watching Little Women and Anne of Green Gables as a kid.) Alas, tis not so simple, my friends. Publishing a book these days is like buying a house: there are contracts and people to hire and sales pitches and all sorts of other adulty things that I’m just not prepared to take on at this point.

In the same token, I’m leaving the decision in the Lord’s hands, because I really don’t want to make the wrong choice! He’s been faithful in leading me in the little things; I know He will in the big stuff, too.

4. Another thing to check off on the to-do list? Getting my book translated to Spanish.

Note: Just after writing these words yesterday, one of my endorsers contacted me about this very subject! Yay! Things seem to be finally moving along. Excuse me while I do some poorly executed cartwheels in celebration. I’ve got this nervous-but-still-excited jittery thing kind of going on, but I’m playing it cool. Since, you know, that’s what an adult would do. 

5. There are a billion more things to do and things to think about and people to contact and decisions to be made but honestly, I had ice cream today, and I just can’t be bothered with big life decisions when my inner fat kid is this happy!

Till next time 😉