So here is the problem with today's entry, the reason I procrastinated, it's going to force me, has forced me to open my memoir and face what I've written. To struggle with what still needs to be written and try not to let the emotions get in the way.
(What's interesting, as I read things I wrote 5, 6, 7 years ago..many of the fears I expressed have actually happened- ie finger ulcers and upcoming removal of said finger tip...and it's nice to know I'm getting through it, but it's still hard to read those sentences..perhaps I see my book as a self-fulfilling prophecy and that is why I am so reluctant to finish it...)
I recently published a memoir style book, a collection of short stories and poems about growing up Latina- Island of Dreams. (If you hadn't read about it/or heard me talk about it you haven't been paying attention). However THAT memoir was just a snippet of my youth. A few of the struggles I had to learn to cope with, it was not THE memoir of my life.
I don't know that there will be just ONE(we all have so many stories to tell)...but the big one, the one I haven't looked at in months because I cry every time..the one that has been 7 years in the making and still isn't finished...that ONE...scares me.
It's too real. I'm still living through it. Every time I think I've found a suitable ending, life happens and the story must continue. I've actually already written the last chapter, it's everything in between that is still so unclear.
This second memoir is about my re-birth, learning to live with and manage my chronic illness. Over the last 7 years it has many different titles and still doesn't quite know what it wants to be. Here are a few:
1.Finding Audrey (I had a mild obsession with Hepburn for awhile)
2. God Will Send Bees (From Juan Luis Guerra's song Las Avispas- listen here)
3. Where I Intended to Go (From my favorite Douglas Adams quote)
4. Getting Thick Skinned (From the poem I shared awhile ago)
To, what I am sticking with until an editor tells me otherwise:
5. Thick Skinned (It's a play on words, Scleroderma literally means "hard skin" because of what it does to the body- over production of collagen causing the skin to thicken and harden/ AND having this illness gave me thick skin to deal with anything life throws at me)
So imagine, if deciding a title is that difficult, you can only imagine what the rest of the process has been like. In the memoir I share everything from doctor's visits and work days to getting married and dealing with over protective parents.
I try to paint the picture using long narrative stories mixed in with short snippets of random thoughts, epiphanies and reflections with the occasional poem thrown in the mix. The memoir is written- in my head- it's my heart that has trouble putting it on paper.
Writing it down makes my story real. Writing it down means it happened. And what if that reality is too much to handle?
What if I AM Virginia Woolf? What if finishing this book drains me and drives me mad? But then again, what if it doesn't?
I have to tell this story. And I am thankful for this blog challenge because over the last three weeks I have gained the courage to get back on track with this memoir because I cannot keep this story bottled up anymore. It has to be told, and I am the one to tell it.
It will not be easy, there will be tears and dark nights. I can't even say for certain it will be done soon, but I will find the strength to work on it piece by piece so that maybe, when it's done, I will find some peace. (It takes Junot Diaz 8-10 years to write a book, so I guess I'm ok)
Here's a taste of what's inside (not the intro but another reflection chapter- this short was first published in Reverie- Ultra Short Memoir Project )
I MISS YOU
I don’t know if I have the words I need to tell you everything I want to say. I don’t know if I have enough creative impulses to get it all down on paper and truly convince you of my story. I don’t really know where any of this is going. But I remember having dreams once. I remember believing in the impossible. I remember being someone else once. I don’t know where she went. I think she’s died in the process. I’ve lost HER somewhere. I tried to blame scleroderma. I tried to blame God. I tried to blame the world. But it’s no one’s fault. She couldn’t take the pressure anymore. So she left.
The old me broke up with the new me and has left both of us broken-hearted. Imagine that, feeling the broken heart of two people at one time beating in your own chest. Grief becomes inevitable, depression a necessity.
I longed for the old me, like every lover does at the beginning of a separation. I went back to her time and time again. I begged for forgiveness. I promised to change. But nothing seemed to work. I spent hours and hours reliving her dreams, trying to believe in them again. But she, and the dreams, kept slipping away. I studied her face in old pictures and thought about how beautiful she was. I closed my eyes and remembered feeling safe and secure in her skin. I felt lost. I felt empty. I felt afraid of being someone else. I had grown accustomed to her routine. She and I had wanted the same things before, had laughed at the same things before, believed in the same things before. And yet, like every sad love affair that comes to an end, she left because what she needed and what I could give her no longer fit, and the new “me” was left holding the shattered pieces of a broken heart that didn’t even exist.