Category Archives: Memoir

What’s NOT in the memoir

I left a lot of things out of the memoir; it’s only 26,000 words, short.

I left out (deliberately) sex, drugs, money, power, and many traumas. I left out various of my favorite stories. I retitled it.

I left out my parents’ names, the name of my home town, most of the schools I went to.

I left out the anger rage, the feelings of victimization, almost any of the feelings except as trying to explain, in first person, in an semi-analytical voice, what happened to me.

I left out the more elaborate design, including footnotes in the first 2 major pieces and end notes in the last. (Changed it to footnotes throughout.) Part of the reason was that I was told early on that memoirs don’t have footnotes. Most may not; mine does.

I left out much of the trauma work detail. There’s a line “this sounds fast and easy. It wasn’t, it took me 10 years.” or something very close to that.

I left out long sentences.

I left out the years of failed relationships,  with friends and lovers in any detail because the way I learned how to have successful relationships were the massive blunders I made, the failures I had, and the places I hugely f’d up.

I left out any literary or academic pretensions, I hope. The language thing is important to me.

Years ago,when I started Tech. Writing, I decided I wanted to write instructions to the standard of what I considered outstanding fiction writing. To me, a piece is wonderfully written when the words on paper disappear because I’m so caught up in what they communicate.

It isn’t that I can’t write with more complexity.


I could say:

This has continually gotten me in trouble with people who equate multi-syllabic words, many independent clauses with conjunctive adverbial clauses, and jargon as educated.

I don’t understand why it is MORE acceptable than:

This has gotten me in trouble with people who see elaborate sentences, structure, and lingo as educated.


What I wanted to do with the memoir was to create something easy to read so that people would focus on what I’m saying, rather than how I’m saying it.

If I did it well, the simple language will be MORE effective. Two people have said it works, one said I wrote a book for youngsters, so it obviously didn’t.

My planned audience is high school senior/college freshman.

We’ll see what the publisher says. Hopefully, he won’t want it rewritten.

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Status

The work piece got done. I have more, there’s a glitch and it’s being fixed (above my paygrade).

The kitchen has a temporary counter, a piece of plywood, covering the dishwasher and a drawer unit while DH figures out the necessary changes. The new dishwasher wouldn’t go in the space where the dish drawer had been: it’s too high and wide. So… the nuking began.

The writing piece has been completely reviewed by my co-editor: comments made and corrections applied. After > 10 years working on the piece, I am both relieved to have it done and terrified because it’s done.

Other things pending: waiting for the reviewer at a site to tell us who he wants the book file to go for the last book to get it reviewed.

I made some $ from the new online job. Hurrah!

Life is in flux, and stressy accordingly: new online job changes, writing project changes, and kitchen demolition.

My plan is that after the book project goes to the publisher mid-month, I will seriously start working on the cleaning plan and the house. I will have the other, biggest, long-term project complete, so it’s about time, right?

(Excuse me while I freak out!)

For a long time I didn’t understand why I was so afraid of finishing things? I talked to my therapist about it. She said, “If you finished something, it was subject to attack by the Abuser, right? It was much safer for you to not finish things, then she’d attack you for being lazy and/or not finishing things, but you controlled that and it wasn’t a surprise.”

Which made total sense.

The panic/terror of finishing things applies to the house cleaning. Also it’s part of the PTSD, not wanting to be too visible, because you see yourself as a target.

If I think about what I’m doing, really think about it, I will totally panic. I’m not letting myself think about the big picture, just the little one. Just getting the next step done; that’s all.

But I’m running out of road.

end of road

(Image from JimmyBuiPhotography.com, via images.google.com)

Free Day and Not

Two days ago, I wrote:

Trying to figure out what to do. I have a writing project to work on and the usual mountain of unfinished house projects.

Just NOT certain what I’ll tackle today. I got the pulled books from the car and removed them from the inventory. They’re ready to box up for donation. Need to move more on that project, or I’ll never get rid of all the books!

I put a slug o’ paperbacks and records out at the booth, sold some. Whatever doesn’t sell in oh say 6 weeks will get pulled. I have too many to keep things out waiting for a sale. The idea is to get rid of stuff!

Time for a cup of coffee and some contemplation. I have already pulled a crate I had an idea for, and found it a new home. But it wasn’t where I wanted it to go, the thing is too big, sigh. It found a home, but it really can’t stay there I don’t think. If I can get DH to make 2 new crates from the old one, then my idea will work. I will have to talk to him about it. . . .


In the meantime, the writing project took over almost all of my work time/energies.

Today is catch-up day. Have to deal with the neglected tomatoes, the book stacks, etc. which I’ve deferred. THEN I need to work more on the writing.

Things ARE getting done here, just for the past 48 hours I dove into the book project.  And this will happen at least once more this week, because my writing group has agreed to review what I’ve done on Sat. One draft has to be done, at the latest, by Friday night.


This means I will continue to put off house projects, and work on writing projects instead, until Sunday. Then, who knows?

My publisher has agreed to look at the book, mid-October. Between my writing group’s review and when I send it to the publisher, I need to make whatever changes the writing group sees as necessary (or not, if I really don’t agree).

I will be absent here for a bit longer!

J

A Tech Problem.

I’m writing a novella, a novel, or just a really big piece. I remembered a recommendation from a pro (I know a lot of them.) to use some software or the other, originally made for academic writing, but that it was helpful to not change character names in the middles of the work, etc.

I’d forgotten the name of the app, so went looking.

I found a review of several, including prowritingaid.com which looked like the best bet. Anyway I wanted to try it. Except I can’t. The only way I can “try” it is to sign up for the premium version because of the computer/OS I’m using. You know? I’d really like to try it at least once to see if it’s worth the $ first.

The software I’d gotten the recommendation for is scrivener. I haven’t looked their free trial yet. If I can try it? Well, here’s a surprise — which one do you think I’ll buy?

 

We Bought the New Domains Last Night

We started, this morning, updating the “main site” which at least in my mind is the “mother ship” of all the others. If you know that site, it was my old bookstore’s name, it’s broken right now!

  • The new sites will host a stream of the PTSD-related threads from here on one site and hopefully, in the future, memoir sales.
  • Links to book & author material, mine and others (one or more sites).
  • Link to a frugality content, some pulled from this blog and other unpublished work.
  • A “newsletter” with scheduling info for my friend authors, artists, etc.

It’s happening!

street signs

 

Blame it on Hugh Jackman

Might as well, right?

I am anxious to see The Greatest Showman, I have it on preorder at itunes as I missed it hereabouts. This means that once or twice a week I go to youtube and look to see if there’s anything new there about the movie. I think I’ve watched every Greatest Showman related piece and read about the ticket numbers, etc. at least twice.

Okay. I’m a fan. Not necessary of movies or Hugh Jackman, but I’m that type of person. I was a sf book dealer for 20 years, right? And looking for something new while you wait for a movie to show up isn’t being obnoxious? I haven’t written 1,000 emails or tried to get all my friends to see the movie or, or, or… believe me, after 20 years of being an sf book dealer, I saw fandom at its best — and worst.

So, what am I blaming the talented Mr. Jackman for? Those songs. He didn’t write them. I know. It isn’t that. It’s what those songs have done.

I’d decided to kill the memoir, remember? After 10+ years of working on the thing, picking my wounds open again and again – to try and make it both true to my story AND entertaining without turning it into a novel was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it. I’d work on the memoir until I’d start to cry and couldn’t stop. Or, another way: it’s the roadmap to my personal hell. Whether the writing is any good. Even if the story, as such, falls apart and it’s a dead bore. It is STILL, for me, the map to and through my particular hell.

I was going to let it die. I’m over 60. I fought that battle for 50+ years, so why do I need to bleed in public? I don’t.

Except those stupid songs won’t get out of my head. And they’ve got me believing, again, that maybe I can actually do the job: tell the story and make it entertaining, or at least not a dead bore. Maybe. Or, that someone might actually be interested. Maybe.

And so, today, and other days, I’ve been going down that particular path to hell. Again.

And THAT I blame Mr. Jackman for. It may not be a bad thing, but it sure isn’t easy. I keep hoping the movie will show up on itunes so I can just WATCH the silly thing and maybe, just maybe, I can dig up the grave and bury the memoir, for good this time.

Or, I suppose the movie could just make this much worse and I’ll have to actually FINISH the stupid thing and let it go into the world.

I’ll get flamed, I know. I’ll get (again) told I’m a wimp. (I know.) I’ll get told, one more time — or several — that I should just GET OVER IT or GIVE IT TO GOD!

Yes, I know.

 

New Direction

I have changed the idea I had about what I was going to do, next, for money and work.

I had thought I’d get retail job or a cleaning job and use the $ to pay down our debt. It’s a fine idea, but I didn’t figure on my elbow. My elbow is fine, mostly, except every now and then…when it hurts like the dickens when I do too much. I have no idea if I will ever again be able to do the heavy work which was my normal. Until I know I can do it without disabling myself, the prudent plan is to assume that I won’t.

Given that, what then? I need to make money. I need to get rid of stuff. I need some way to do both which doesn’t require lots of heavy lifting or physical work. Hmm.

What I came up with was a way to incorporate the things I already do, and have already started, into a comprehensive whole. The memoir, various other writings, themes throughout the writing, and other pieces I’ve started through the years. So, at some point in the not too distant future, this blog may change radically.

street signs

The first piece is something I intend to implement this month.  I’ve been held up because my editing work has suddenly gotten very busy. Since that’s the gig which pays the quickest right now, and there’s someone else who I’d be holding up if I didn’t do the work in a timely basis, it gets top priority.

But new content! Spring cleaning, that is, culling the less read/viewed parts and reorganization of this site’s content ahead!