The journey of writing my memoirs while trying to stay sane is like trying to walk through a mine field; you never know when something is going to trigger an explosion only this is an explosion of emotion. It isn't an easy thing revisiting the past especially when it is filled with trauma and drama at every turn. Natalie Goldberg in her book Old Friend From Far Away says that you have to approach writing a memoir sideways, which seems to be the only way I can approach it.
If I think I am working on my memoirs my body tenses up, my stomach feels queasy and I think of a million other things that need to be done right now-immediately. It would be funny if it wasn't so darn inconvenient. So I do it a piece at a time. Writing bits of my past from writing prompts and the lovely books that help me mine the fields of my shadows without falling into the deep chasms that seem to just be waiting to suck me in.
This morning I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to write with my friend Tui at Mental Mosaic It is easier to write knowing someone is out there writing with you. It was for me. I couldn't avoid the page. I couldn't tell myself that there was something more important for me to do. I only had to write or type as the case may be, and fill the page one word at a time.
I share this journey with you because I know it is hard. Maybe by sharing my journey it will feel a little less lonely and crazy for you while you are trudging through your memories and putting them on the page. I want you to know that if you are writing your memoirs you are not alone. Not only are there many of us out here, but we are all pushing through the fear on a daily basis right along with you. To get to know each other I am creating a Twitter hashtag #MemoirMadness for us to use when we need to chat with someone going through the same thing; to be able to reach out and commiserate, laugh, and maybe even cry together. It doesn't have to be as difficult as doing it completely alone. We can avoid the madness together and get our stories written. I am going to. I know you can too.
Are you writing a memoir? How did you come to realize you wanted to put your story in print? How do you get around or through the fear?