Friday, March 23, 2012

Publish? Maybe. Perish? Highly Unlikely.

I've been experiencing what some might call "Writer's Block". But what I know is that I have been arguing with myself far too much lately. Thankfully, a cloud of doubt lifted yesterday and today I am writing again.

Memoirs chronicle the experiences ordinary people have had in some extraordinary circumstances. There are the celebrity actors who battle an early onset of Parkinson’s disease (Hello Michael J. Fox!) to the writer who sets off on a quest to find purpose in life while traveling through Europe (How are you doing now Elizabeth Gilbert?), to the touching final thoughts of a dying professor (You left us way too soon, Randy Pausch). The shelves of published memoirs document the challenges of living day in and day out in a world we share with others, many of whom may never take the time or even have the inclination to “write it all down” but who relate to our challenges of body, mind, and spirit. Everyone has a story to tell. And many people truly honor listening to each other’s stories and learn from them. Whether or not those tales are published, each voice is as worthy as the next. I believe this wholeheartedly.

Although I have faced challenges in the 44 years I’ve lived, I have never battled cancer nor have I been harshly abused, poverty-stricken, homeless, or admiringly reckless in abandoning my 9 to 5 job to run away and see the world. I can relate to other's troubling tales for I have fretted over a concerning request for a repeat mammogram a few years ago. I did break away from an attack of a sexual predator at the age of sixteen. And yes, I have fantasized of running away to travel or to simply hide out in the woods behind my house THOUSANDS of times and at various ages. (I swear if someone would just find the right words to seductively pull me away from my responsibilities, I’d romantically disappear for at least a little while). I find myself thinking over the stories, contemplations, and anxieties I have shared openly in my memoir posts. Have I lived fully? Have I lived a life worth discussing? Is such a life publishable? I am looking for an angle, some lens to look through so as to focus my vision as I take stock of my life. What would the title of my memoir be? How would it be marketed? Would it sell a single copy? Truth be told, lens or no lens, my life has been blessed. It hasn’t been perfect (thank goodness, as how boring would THAT be?) but it is a good one, and one mixed with a hearty balance of risk-taking and caution.

Why do I write? Inside my soul there is a relentless hunger to live my life as honestly as I can. I make strides to do good but I mess up. A lot. But I don’t deny my stumbles or my failings. They make me who I am. Am I likeable? I hope so. But I know I don’t always make it easy for people. Still, I’m working to balance a desire to improve myself and a yearning to be more self-confident. It’s a tricky gig. I’m full of contradictions. And I suppose, it matters little in the end whether or not my voice is heard, whether my day-to-day adventures resonate with another. I hope they do; I hope my attempt to live a transparent life aids my fellow man, but I am just one woman, after all. I am one woman who as of today has not run away, who has not yet fallen prey to an addiction, who has not yet lived the trials of cancer. I don’t have Parkinson’s. I don’t plan to divorce my husband and go across the world looking for food, peace, and love. I get hungry sometimes and I let doubt creep in, but most days I fully recognize what I have here. And hopefully I am not a teacher who only has a few more months to live. Because I've got a lot more to do. I've got a lot more to say, whether or not anyone's listening.

Michael, Elizabeth, and Randy wrote amazing memoirs. But I have something to say too, even if I am the only one who hears. I am one woman who is not afraid to use her voice to tell her story, to look inward and to reach outward. Am I an ordinary person living through extraordinary times? Maybe. Am I an extraordinary person living an ordinary life? I’d like to think so. But oh who cares?! It doesn’t matter what the angle. It doesn’t matter how I classify it all. This is MY life. My voice. My memoir. But enough about me. Thanks for listening but now... It’s time to talk about YOU.

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