Writing memoirs- thanks to NaNoWriMo



I have been meeting with a writer’s group for a few months now. We sit in a circle, sipping herbal tea and sometimes gnoshing on delectable snacks while the fledgling (and already seasoned) authors-to-be read aloud from their most recent works. It is a treat to the ears, and a privilege to become privy to the inner workings of some of these very fine minds. I have been reading from a rapidly written memoir that I punched off during the month of November 3 years ago. It was National Novel Writing Month- dubbed “NaNoWriMo”. I scrabbled together over 53,000 words of memory, put my pen down on November 30th, and have done nothing in the way of editing since. Now comes the painful process of reading through, deciding what to pitch and what to add, and how to bring this story to some sort of resolution. If indeed there is resolution. So far I have read to a somewhat rapt audience- a fact that humbles me to the core. How could my life be so interesting to others? I am told that it is the way that I write. Descriptions that bring my world into three dimensions. The story itself is rather unhappy in parts, but hopefully it does get better by the time the reader turns that final page.

I have to thank NaNoWriMo for daring me to do this. And for the wonderful colleagues who have sat patiently while I appeared soul-naked before them. Memoir-writing is kind of like peeling your clothes off in front of a mixed audience. The feeling of insecurity in the sharing is paralyzing at best, and traumatizing enough to make one leap in front of thundering Mac-truck at worse. So here I am, choosing to ignore that paralysis and soldier forward. We’ll see what happens next.

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