What is it ABOUT?
It’s been almost exactly a year since my graduate thesis and creative project was approved by my advisors. It has had time to mellow. Or ferment?
Was I afraid it had fermented so much that it would explode when I took it from its box buried in the closet? What on earth had me so afraid that I would rather do anything — I mean, anything; I even went out and scooped up the dog’s piles of do-do — than sit down and start on this project? You know, the one I am so ready to do? “That’s what I want to do!” I said.
Well, I know, really: FEAR OF FAILURE (perfectionism) and/or SUCCESS (imposter syndrome or “What if that’s all I had in me? What then?”) But that’s a topic for another day… (although I have written a lot about fear before as well as little about the fear of success.)
But finally after a lot of procrastination in the form of house-cleaning, binge Orange is the New Black watching, and justified-as-research memoir reading, and yes, dog-poop-clearing, I finally picked up my manuscript. (And then I wrote this blog post as an additional justifiable procrastination method.)
So far I have only read the memoir section. I have to admit I’m pretty happy with what I read. That is, in Part I. It’s more complete than I remembered and I don’t think it will need a whole lot of editing. Part II, however, is a different story. Literally.
In that section I am telling a very different story than I was in the first part, which is the telling of certain childhood memories. Part II is an existential exploration into the ineffable. It has no structure as it was a recording of what I was experiencing while I was writing my memoir and doing research into the worlds of myth, women’s development and spirituality, and psychology. It is as fragmented as I felt at that time as I was attempting to connect of the dots of ME.
So, in order to gain some focus for my next steps I have challenged myself to answer some questions about my book.
1. What is my story about? What is the question I am asking?
2. In my story, what do I (the author, main character) want/need?
3. What is the obstacle to what I want/need?
4. How do I get over this obstacle?
5. How do I change in the process? What do I learn?
6. What am I teaching others through my story? What information do I hope to relay? What personal learning speaks to the universal? WHY am I telling this story?
I am hoping that as I answer these questions, I will gain insight into the true reason for my story; what it needs to say, not what I think I want it to say.
To read snippets of my memoir, “Leaving Fundamentalism in Search of Voice,” click here.