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Michelle's Musings

True Confessions, Part 3

My comments for this third installment of my "True Confessions" posts focuses on the memoir I'm developing, which I alluded to at the beginning and end of installment number two.

 

The beginning and end. For my memoir-in-progress, I have an idea where to begin, and I have multiple options for its conclusion. However, if I'm going to be honest, I haven't yet figured out a through line, although my goal is to inspire others seeking survival and triumph amid adversity. As previously mentioned, I've written snippets or mini chapters of my recollections to get my thoughts down on paper. However, I need to tie them together with a connecting theme so I can provide the reader with a satisfying story.

 

I made an inroad since last month's blog post by contacting an aunt with whom I've had little interaction over the years. I informed her of my desire to know more about my upbringing and possibly gain insights into how I survived a highly dysfunctional environment. Surprisingly, she agreed to answer all my questions. We set a date, and I made the phone call, not knowing what to expect. My aunt opened the conversation by apologizing for anything she did or did not do to help my siblings and me during our struggles, which indicated that this discussion would be cathartic for her. Thankful for her willingness to have this conversation, I told her that no apology was necessary. She then gave an effluent monologue of the first 20 or so years of her life.

 

My aunt hardly took a breath between words as she recounted details of those years, confirming that the little I do remember of those tumultuous times is factual and not post-traumatic figments of my imagination. Then, I filled in details of which she wasn't aware but were consistent with her knowledge. It was the only time she was dead-silent. I could hear the proverbial pin drop on the other side of the phone line.

 

After nearly two and a half hours of back-and-forth and notetaking on my part, we agreed to resume our discussion at a later time. It's been three weeks now, and I've yet to pore through my notes, annotate, and write follow-up questions in preparation for our next talk. But I'm getting there.

 

The moral of this blog post? You never know who's willing to talk unless you ask!

 

Note - This third blog installment turned out to be longer than anticipated (sound familiar?), so I'm ending here and saving a juicy nugget of a revelation from the aforementioned discussion for next month in what should be my final post in my "True Confessions" series. To think that I initially anticipated only one or two installments—I might need a fifth, but I don't intend to write my memoir here!

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew?

I'm contemplating writing a memoir and have been in contemplation several years now. But I've not wanted to start the memoir until I finish my novel, which has taken much longer than anticipated. Sometimes, I wonder whether I should just go ahead and get a draft together even though I still have a ways to go on my novel revision.

 

Writing a memoir is a big project. If I don't get started soon, it will turn into an obituary! Yet there's something sacrilegious about simultaneously working on two large, distinct writing projects. Can I give each one my best effort? Will I mix up the different through lines?

 

I'm wondering what others think about juggling two large projects at the same time. If I begin the memoir while still working on the novel, am I biting off more than I can chew?

 

You're probably thinking, Well, that's up to you to decide, Michelle. Still, I'd like to hear your relevant experience.

 

(Hint: I've recently taken a couple of workshops on memoir writing.)

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