Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Writing Woes & NaNoWriMo

I have three novels and lots of short stories to work on, but my head and my heart hasn't really been in my writing these last several months. I know part of it is because I have a lot going on - a promotion, two jobs, working on two HUGE events along with my regular ones, housemates moving out, a pretty steady flow of foster kittens, getting ready to launch for it's second year, and just the regular business of living. But also, I've been feeling a draw to work on my nonfiction... to tell the story of my life... to write about my sisters... a memoir about my family... to write about Joy's brain injury... to write about how that one event completely changed my family. This is something I have been trying to write for twenty years, ever since her accident first happened. But almost three years ago my mother died and she has always been my best fact checker whenever I've written about our lives. Also, writing about something so true and personal is really hard and draining. I fear using what my family has gone through for my writing. I worry about not being true to what happened. Memory is faulty, and I have a brain that likes to embellish and fictionalize. I know that writing is cathartic, but I fear that sharing my life with strangers will not be fair to the people who share my life.

About seven months after my mom died, H is for Hawk came out. This memoir by Helen Macdonald was about her father dying suddenly, something I related to on a very personal level. But it was also about how she threw herself into training her hawk and secluded herself from the rest of the world. This experience is very different from mine, though I do tend to throw myself into whatever I'm doing, I've never had the luxury of time or money to step away from my life. But the emotion, or attempts to side-step emotion, in the story were very familiar. It helped me. It also made me think that if my writing could possibly help someone else, I should write my story.

So my plan is that in November, I will work on my memoir for NaNoWriMo. Over the first week of November, I am visiting one of my dearest friends in Rode Island and since she is an amazing author, I'm certain we will have time to write. I don't know if it will stay a memoir, and that's okay. All I know is that I need to write my life.