Tag Archives: Autobiography

Monday’s inspiration.

12 Nov

Life in general was cruel and offered only different types of voids and chaos. The only way to tolerate it, to have any hope of escaping it, I reasoned, was to know my own strength, to defy life by surviving it. -from Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

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Writing advice from Maya Angelou.

28 Jul

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 

This quote has hit home for me recently, and yet I know that I’m doing something that not many people can do: I’m attempting to get my life on paper. At this point, that’s all that matters to me, the fact that I’m trying. Even though I was worried for a while that I haven’t even touched my memoir in what seems like ages, I’m okay with where I stand. As many people have told me over the past few months: the words will come when they are ready. I’m sticking to that thought. At least for now.

Writing A Memoir In Letter Format?

12 Jul

After Tuesday’s post of my third letter to Grace, I’ve been debating making a change with my memoir. I think I might focus on having it the book be my autobiography through letters to Grace (Grace is a 12-year-old girl that I know who has Cerebral Palsy as well). Having my memoir be mainly the letters would be easier than what I’ve been trying to do. Before thinking of this change, my memoir has been fine….but it’s been very much of a chore. I haven’t wanted to write it.

But the letters to Grace….they come easily. Even when referring to really hard memories, aiming the memories in a letter format to Grace feels much more natural….or it flows better. They’re easier to get out. And I feel like my readers would enjoy it more. Though I know that I shouldn’t focus on that, it still does come to mind. Granted, I wouldn’t just be starting the memoir with the 3 letters that I’ve written. I’d have to go back through what I’ve written regarding my memoir so far and pick out which memories I want to include in the letters.

I think using the letters as the basis of my memoir fits more with what I’m aiming to do by writing my memoir. I want people to be able to understand what I’ve faced but I also want other kids with CP and families with kids who have CP to realize that they are not alone in the pain that they’re feeling. The latter reason would definitely fit with using the letters as the focus since the letters are aimed at someone who has CP. That being said, I’d have to include a few chapters on CP in itself of course because I know that not everyone who will end up reading my memoir will have knowledge or experience with CP.

Since I have chosen to rework my memoir, it’s almost as if I’m back at the beginning. However, at the same time, I’m not. I’ve already made progress. As well as already having written 3 letters, I’ve already dug up a lot of the really hard memories. Granted, there are still some really hard memories to uncover, but since I’ve already written about some of the hard ones then this reworking cycle a little bit easier. The concept of the reworking feels very normal though. There are no writers who like the very first thing that they write. There is a reason that English professors and some of my writing mentors have told me that first drafts are complete shit. That’s because it’s true. They are.

As a writer, I’ve got to be willing to change things and rework what I’ve written since I want to make what I write as best as I possibly can. Plus, I think having my memoir be letters to Grace makes it more unique. Plus, with focusing my memoir on the letters, it also means that I’ll have the letters to give myself strength even if I don’t end up publishing them. Either way, writing them will be beneficial to me. And that’s all that matters. Well that and helping others with CP realize that they’re not alone. Plus, even though I’m writing my memoir, having the letters be the focus of what I’m writing takes me out of the center of the book. Yes, it’s an autobiography…so it’s my life…but who wants to read a memoir that reads something like this: “I went through (blah blah blah) and now I’m a stronger person…..I went through all this other shit…..I felt all this pain that you can’t understand…Me me me me.” Ick. Who wants to read that?

So…thoughts? What’s your opinion on focusing my memoir on letters to Grace? Better idea? Let me know what you think. I love having your feedback!

To Grace (Part 3): Accepting Love.

10 Jul

To Grace. To Grace (Part 2): Walking Through The Fire.

Dear Grace,

I don’t know what it is about writing these letters to you that makes me feel better, but they do. Even though I know that you aren’t in the same place as me in terms of your CP, simply being able to say that I personally know another girl with CP who has faced what I have makes me feel that much closer to you.

I’m in Ireland right now, and I love it. It’s been such a wonderful experience. However, it’s been so hard too. Physically and emotionally. I’ve walked more since I’ve been in Ireland than I have in a long time. Though I know that it’s making me stronger, it hurts. It hurts physically and emotionally because there’s no one here that understands. There’s no one that can say they know what I’m feeling. I know that I said in my previous letters how hard it’s been on me that no one can understand what I’ve faced, but it’s just so so so hard, Grace. I know that you know this.

Having no one who understands is almost as if I’m walking down this dark corridor with all these different doors. The doors lead to people who want to understand, but can’t. The need to go through each door and cry is so strong. The only thing worse than not having anyone who understands is knowing that there are people in my life who want to understand but aren’t able to. I can see it in their eyes. There isn’t pity there. There is just the desire to want to know me on a different level, and the degree that I want people in my life to be on the same level as me is stronger than I ever imagined. It’s close to impossible though, Grace.

I know that you understand. However, I also know that it’s not something I’d easily be able to discuss with you. I’d like to imagine that one day when we are older we could try to talk about it. Right now though, it’s too fresh for both of us. It’s too true, too real, too close for comfort. You’re closer to it now than I am. You’re still having to go to PT and face the pain that I’ve been reliving over the past few months through attempting to write my memoir. Even though I’m not facing that pain in the same way that you are right now, I’m facing it in my own way. Saying it’s emotionally painful doesn’t even come close to what I have felt over the past few months. Recently, I really have wondered why I keep putting myself in this position. When you think about it, it’s as if I’m bulldozing myself with all these really painful memories that I never wanted to think about again.

Over the past few months I’ve had multiple people ask me why I have openly placed myself so far deep into my past that I feel completely and utterly stuck. I don’t know how to answer that question because I myself don’t know why. At first, I stuck to the reason that it was because I wanted to reach a point where I could accept myself. However, now that I think about it, self-acceptance is something that every single person struggles with. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone who can openly say that they completely and totally love themselves. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s hard to block out all the negative feelings you have about yourself, even if you do feel like it would benefit you if you didn’t dwell on them.

So as of right now, I’m walking down that dark corridor…feeling alone and yet realizing that there are people who reside behind the doors who are ready and willing to take me into their arms and simply hold me. Because sometimes, no matter how many times we try to be strong, the only thing left to do is sit down and just let the tears come. I used to hate giving in to the tears. It used to make me feel weak. But Grace, we’ve faced so much. We’ve been through pain that people can’t understand. So I guess the thought of walking down a dark corridor and feeling completely and utterly alone isn’t as depressing as I’ve made it seem. It’s just accurate, especially when we realize that the people that we care about aren’t as far away as we imagined. They’re close…patiently waiting…waiting to try to feel what we’ve felt….even though that feels close to impossible right now. It shows love, Grace. It shows a strong emotion that I’ve been so nervous to let in. Nervous because of the strength and power of love. But also nervous because I feel like I’ve been walking through my life recently not knowing how to accept love from people who want to give it to me. I just don’t know how. I’m trying though. I’m trying so hard.

I’m thinking of you. Please know that.

Love,

Amelia