It’s not-all-that-shocking confessions week here at HitchDied, I guess, so here’s the other thing that’s been going on in my life that I haven’t been blogging about: I’m writing a book. But it’s November, so you can’t spill a latte without getting some on a would-be novelist. But I’m not writing a novel. It’s even lamer than that: I’m writing a memoir.
Even before I fell in love with writing, I talked about how maybe one day I’d write a memoir. Every over-educated under-employed person thinks about writing a memoir, right? It’s a total privileged-kid cliché. But my memoir had a hook: my parents died a few months apart when I was 21.
Oh shit! That book already exists and already made all of the money and won all of the acclaim. And sadly, I’m way too late to cash in as its Asylum Studios equivalent: A Bummer Read of Workmanlike Competence.
No matter, I’m not writing this to sell it. l. I am writing it because this story has been waiting to be told for six years and I’m tired of saying “someday.” I’m writing it because I need to conquer a long-term goal, and this one is up to bat.
I’m following the NaNoWriMo schedule of at least 1,667 words per day (as of yesterday I’m ahead by 18 whole words!). My friend Josh suggested I do it, and I latched on to the idea because getting this story out of me requires a bit of a kick in the pants. It’s too easy to say, “I don’t want to think about time in my life today, it will make me too sad” and use that to excuse laziness. And writing this has not, actually, made me sadder or more depressed. I haven’t shed a single tear typing up even the most excruciating memories of that time.
I wish I could say the opposite was true, that sorting these memories into a narrative has been an invaluable emotional catharsis, but that hasn’t kicked in yet.
Although it has felt like a tremendous relief, as though the untold story was a burdening me. Even though I’m only telling it to my computer screen. Or maybe that relief is all about working to achieve a long-term goal, turning “maybe someday” into “today.” I’m crossing something off my life list, even if I will be promptly replacing it with “edit all that crap you wrote last November into something readable.”