Friday, December 10, 2010
I started a nonfiction piece today that has nothing to do with Curly or Q or any other heroine I have worked on in the past year or so. When I went to Writer’s at Work a couple of years ago, I should have taken the Nonfiction class. I wanted to be with J and C so much and I had gotten recognition for fiction, but I wasn’t in the right class. It’s not easy for me to say this. The author who taught our class, while I learned in that week’s time to respect many things about her, didn’t touch my heart as a writer and unfortunately as I have read a very limited amount of her work, it doesn’t touch me either.
The author who was conducting the Nonfiction class however is a different story. I could have learned from her. As I scribble away at fiction, somehow it always comes back to my real life. I can’t pretend as easily as I can draw on my own experience. I often think why else have I lived and toiled and laughed and struggled if not to someday write about it. Even if it’s only for my two children to understand, breathe in who their mother was who was difficult, who challenged them, who delighted them when she was not stressed and who filled their eyes with tears when she was. I have taken my son with me to apologize to the neighbor boy I swore at when he trespassed and then mouthed off and the Irish ire was ignited. I apologize an awful lot. I hope they see me writing, doing my exercises to strengthen this body so it can play with them and have energy and trying to make goals so they will know how to as well.
If they could read the stories of my life which when all the fragments and scraps are woven together into a kind of abstract art piece maybe it will provide answers as to who they are too. I wish I had the stories of my parents (hint, hint) of my grandparents because I know I would find my place more readily in this world as I still daily struggle with figuring out who I am.
I tell you, in no way are we challenged, staring into a mirror that is way too large for us and where we can see every pore, than in being a parent. We can hold down our fears, our idiosyncrasies, our pain, but the moment we are a mentor for another human being all bets are off and we have to come to our knees.
Writing my memoirs is like that for me. It’s coming down to my knees and not being afraid to pull out every thorn, every piece of cloudy glass and attempting to dust it off and find the beauty in it, because at the end of the day every story of every soul is beautiful and to me there are no better stories than the true ones…I can only imagine all the untold stories that would fill the whole world just waiting to be written down.
So yes, I believe if I am true to who I am as a writer, than I am a memoir writer. I missed an opportunity, but now I know it.
I watched Little Women today with little C and as Professor Baer admonished Jo to write what was in her heart, I knew that this novel I have just finished isn’t it for me. There is a story I haven’t identified yet that is my Little Women. I just love that book, that movie, Louisa May Alcott, even though truth be told growing up I always wanted to be Amy…but that is a post for another day, isn’t it?