What in the world is happening with this goddamned book?
Let me catch you up on what’s going on. Are you sitting? You better sit down for this. This is going to take a long time. In fact, you should probably be sitting in your underwear with a drink. We’ll be going on a private time machine. If you must know, it looks like the front half of an 1978 tan Chrysler Cordoba. Don’t worry, it’s totally private. Only the marketing team can see you through the two-way window.
Okay, enough of that. All I’m doing is preparing you for an even longer read. And God forbid I give the people more to read! I can’t count how many hairs I’ve lost over the stressing I’ve done about shortening this God forsaken book. Oy Vhey!
Anyway, back to the time machine. We’re going back to 2010, about a year after both my parents died and I had some time to grieve. I wasn’t painting much. I was writing. Dabbling through various autobiographical stories I’d written over the years previous, I fictionalized some of these stories, and some I just let sit to take up computer space. But I began to focus on, or at least I intended, writing my whole “story.” It all began as fiction though, not an “autobiography.” Yet, it was my autobiography, if that makes sense.
By 2011, I had a draft. Nothing anyone could read, even if I let them. It was gobbledeegook. But some chapters were forming as well as a couple of characters. This was about when mjp convinced me to write it as a memoir instead of fiction. I didn’t think anyone would ever believe it as a true story though. If I ever felt like publishing it, who would believe all the stuff that’s happened to me? And who would want to hear me whine about it? Still, it was so far in the future, I wasn’t thinking about it yet. And I had no idea what I’d be facing, emotionally. I have to say that, if I did, I can’t say I would have started this book in the first place.
Mjp convinced me pretty easily when he said that the best thing about the book was that it was all true. At least I had that going for me.
Anyway, that’s a whole other emotionally charged post I probably won’t be writing here.
In the meantime, I’ve quit this book, and quit writing all together. Several times now. I’ve also been working and reworking, editing, and rearranging the same skeleton, the same words, I started with in 2010. I found that this was essentially the problem. Over the last year, something just really disturbed me about it all (and not in the same way the content will disturb you). I’m just glad I figured it out.
The sentiments, viewpoints, outlooks — they’re not the same as the ones I have now. That was a decade ago. I’ve grown. I’ve grown a lot, and rereading this damn book, over and over put me into a deep depression. It made me feel that I hadn’t learned anything about myself at all. I was defeated, in fact. It was written too close to the time I was grieving. Too close to the time I was fighting with my brother. I was sad, angry, and broken. It was still funny — don’t get me wrong! I just have a lot of growth to share, especially after the process and years I dedicated to writing this book. And especially after all the therapy I’ve had, too.
It’s not that I’ve “overcome” my anger, or sadness, or even my fear, but fear is not completely running the show anymore. It was though. Fear of being judged, fear of sucking as a writer, fear of not be respected by my own partner, fear of “coming out” as a nincompoop to all those who have known me over the last 20 years, fear of being sued, harassed, and publicly humiliated, however…
I forgot that I was willing to take every single one of those risks. Because I’ve read this book, many times over (duh!), and know for a fact I have the courage.