|Prom, bitches. Check out that 80s hair.|
Also, I had the ambitious idea to write the memoir as a series of stand-alone essays. Each and every chapter has to have a neat beginning, middle and end. It has to have its own conflict. It has to resolve that conflict in some kind of satisfying way. And it has to have its own point or meaning because otherwise, why bother?
Doing this has been no small task but I am pleased with the results thus far. My favorite writers, people like David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, Michael Chabon and Jo Ann Beard have all done this with their nonfiction so I figured, why not me? Plus it seemed like an easier way to transition from a lifetime of writing short stories, essays and blog posts into writing a longer work. Cause that shit's daunting, yo.
The book is a memoir of my childhood. It covers the time period from one of my earliest memories ... maybe around three years old ... to 19 years old. I'm knee-deep in the high school period right now and things have gotten considerably more exciting, as adolescence is wont to be.
I had a literary agent contact me a couple of months ago, interested in the manuscript. This is why blogging is no joke, people. Everything you write on the internet is a potential to attract attention, both good and bad. In this instance, it was good. This is a fancy literary agent at a fancy New York agency. Whenever I write "New York Agency" in my head, I hear the crowd yell, "NEW YORK CITY?" like they do in those Pace picante salsa ads. Yes I know "picante salsa" is not a word, but I think it makes me sound even more Midwestern for humorous effect.
I sent the agent the first 50 pages and haven't heard back yet. My coach encourages me to believe that this is a good thing, because it means I haven't been rejected yet.
This is why I pay her. Because otherwise I would be taking a lot of Xanax right now.
Knowing that first 50 pages is out there has encouraged me to want to finish this thing. I've tried to pick up the pace of late, to try to get it done. I wish I had more time to do it. The full-time job and the graduate class are infringing on that a bit, but I think I can still manage. I pretty much either work on the book or do homework from 9pm to midnight each night. I heard that Hemingway wrote only for four hours a day, from 8 in the morning until noon. That is basically my bar. It has been set. My life's goal is to be able to write from 8 to noon one day. Or even 9 to 1. That, to me, would be success. But right now, I'm living the nocturnal version of the Hemingway dream, which is okay too.
Anyway, I think I had a point with this post but now I've forgotten it. Perhaps it was merely to catch you up on the status of my first book, to tell you a little more about it, and to encourage myself to keep on writing it.
Now that I'm on the adolescence part, it gets harder in some ways and easier in others. It's easier because it's all about me. I don't have to worry about hurting my parents' feelings because the older you get, the more you are responsible for your own life and actions. When you're a little kid your parents have much more power, clearly.
I've talked to my mom about the memoir, because you can't really write about being the child of an alcoholic without telling the recovering alcoholic that you're doing so. I mean, at least if you still want to have a relationship with your parent, that is. She is incredibly awesome about it. She says, "Your story is your story, and no one else's."
That's pretty incredible, isn't it? It's a gift. Possibly one of the greatest gifts she has ever given me. You know, aside from that whole giving birth to me thing.
I'll have to remember it in case either one of my kids becomes a writer. Lord knows I've given them plenty of material.
Now I have to get back to my memoir. The current chapter is about how I simultaneously developed both a crush on a boy and an eating disorder. Some of it's funny I swear! Okay, some of it's sad. It's kind of how the whole book is looking at this point. Inappropriate humor, dark humor and a lot of brutal honesty.
Now, where did I put that Xanax?