My memoir is almost complete. I wonder, though, if I will ever feel like it’s done and good enough to expose to the world. In my first post of what was then a 30-day challenge, I talked about how I can’t simply read over the draft once or twice before I publish it, and that’s no different with a memoir. The chapters are about ten pages long, give or take, so it takes a long time for me to get over my obsession with perfection.
There’s a folder in my computer files that reads Memoir. That’s it. In it are chapters, files of the raw first drafts, and a bunch of notes and other thoughts that are not complete. I did post parts of it on my web page a couple years ago and people seemed to like it, but then had to take it down so it could potentially be publishable in the future. A few weeks ago, I went to the library and wrote a chapter but haven’t opened it since. I talk about it all the time which must be annoying!
Why am I writing a daily blog when I should be diving into finishing this memoir? Because I don’t want to do it. It’s difficult to open up emotionally enough to share what happened with clarity. I opened it up this morning because it caught my eye. There was no intention, at least not on my part. I looked at it with a level, reviser’s and editor’s mind, and not only a widow’s. I realize it’s because I have been practicing writing in different forms, daily, which is like running on a treadmill before a marathon. I opened one of the chapters and found myself reading, and although I let myself go to this place emotionally, I was able to keep my head level while I read about the minutes after I found out we lost Roger:
I didn’t cry or fall like they do in the movies. There was no yelling because I didn’t want the kids to find out. I stood there in my parents’ front yard on a warm summer night in Southampton, Massachusetts. I’m sure the crickets were probably making noise, but I don’t remember. I felt like I needed to put on a bra and brush my teeth, and wondered if the bats were circling up above waiting to nuzzle their faces into my tangled hair. The boys and I had only been in the state for a few short hours. I stood there without my legs, with nobody to hold me. It felt like everything inside me was unattached and floating around. It was all gone. I was hovering on nothing but hot, melted hell, and all I could concentrate on was the young private’s face.
Although the emotions were there, I also saw some changes I can make, and it showed me my growth in writing. My professors all added something a little different to my writing toolbox that contributes to successfully sharing Roger’s story.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with this revelation, but I do know I’m not done, and I need to set some type of deadline for myself. I need a set day of the week where I go somewhere else and write, and as always, I need accountability.