“Seeing yourself as the protagonist of your life, you look for your responsibility in the story your life makes, rather than seeing it as having “happened to you.” For women, especially, this can be a radical shift in perception.”
Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer
I can’t lie. After writing full steam last week I thought I would have a glimpse of what my memoir’s deeper meaning would be. I was hopeful and looking for a clue or two. Nothing. So far it is just writing. Rambling writing. Or free-writing. That sounds more positive doesn’t it.
I remember something Anne Lamott wrote in her book Bird by Bird, something about hoping you don’t die before you get to re-write the draft. That is where I am at. It is awful. Although we are always our own worst critic but it is suppose to be awful. I know I want the finish product to have more meaning. Like Sunlight, this book, is just a bunch of random memories and thoughts. I didn’t know what Sunlight would be until two months after I had written it. I guess I need to get in a little deeper to find out what treasure is here. I am standing on the shore hoping to see Atlantis deep underwater.
This lack of seeing the end picture stunts my writing. I wonder where it is all going. I lay in bed and think about my past to see what sort of memory comes up or maybe I reflect on a writing prompt I read the night before to get me going. I lay there and as soon as a memory pops up I write it. About a half hour in my brain starts to wake up and be aware of what I am doing. It starts to get critical, wondering what the point is to me remembering about childhood toys in the big scheme of things. Then my writing slows down until I am just done. My writing-self has been silently discouraged by my brain that it has walked off the stage.
I feel lost and the fact that I don’t just trust the process of remembering bugs the shit out of me. “Just relax,” I tell myself. “Things will work out. They always do.” My brain does not listen. It says nasty things to me. Then I can feel that writer leaving. This voice must be tamed.
That is my task this week. To take control of that voice that discourages the writer. The one that closes the door on my memories with nasty comments. …..
Actually I don’t like what I just said about taking control of that voice. Both voices have benefits. There is just a time and place for each. They need to learn to mind their manners. Sometimes the writer voice comes up when I just can’t deal with all its chattering too. I need my logical mind at the moment and then it decides to start talking to me when we had our special time that morning.
Now, I must get writing. I must not let the brain discourage the writer. I will keep writing and see where the stories lead. Like bread crumbs. Write and then see if I can see the picture when I am done. Or maybe I will see it along the way. I don’t know. I need to trust the process. The point of the story will come. It is in there. My message will reveal itself.