Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Burning (Take Two)

I needed to dive into my book again. I thought that was because I believed the project had potential. Now I think maybe it was because I needed to be reminded of why I set fire to it in the first place.

Other things my consultant said:

Memoir is currently dead weight in the marketplace
Memoir is the hardest genre to write
Memoir is best written years after the events it discusses
Writing shouldn’t be this hard.
The book’s thesis is still unclear.
There is no obvious audience for this book. The topic is too hard.
I needed to write this for myself and my son, not because it’s a saleable memoir (ouch).
I am an essayist. I should write essays. For now.

OK, so. Add to that the reasons I burnt the thing last year, which have come rushing back to me like a back draft (ha ha). Here is what I read aloud on that occasion.

I am tired of trying to cram my life into the formal structure of the novel.
My life doesn’t have to be published for it to be a true story.
I am sick of seeing my life experience rejected by two sentence emails.
I don’t have to convince the world how much I loved Whunk. He knows. I know.
I am tired of searching for the happy ending instead of living the happy middle.
It’s time to set myself free.

Having had five days for this to sink in, I feel quite at peace. Letting go of a five-year project (again)? Sure, sounds great. Can we have cocktails, after?

It’s possible I am delusional about the peace part. But I did an awful lot of crying last week and I think this time, I’m just going to opt to keep the peace. I feel I've earned it.

Not sure what I’ll do next, besides essay. Maybe chick lit? Needlepoint? Stay tuned.

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