For the past two weeks I’ve been sitting on the second round of edits I need to make to my memoir Loveyoubye and then it will finally be done.
Five years of working through all the emotions, the tears and anguish. Five years of waking in the middle of the night, filled with doubt that I had the right to tell my story. Five years of sorting through what to put in and what to leave out. Five years of memoir writing classes and workshops, learning how very different memoir is from fiction, getting past fiction’s iron clad rule to “show don’t tell.” In memoir, it’s tell, tell, tell.
I spilled my guts. And then I sent the manuscript to Thomas White, an editor recommended by my memoir writing mentor for a comprehensive edit. I didn’t realize just how comprehensive his edit would be. He picked up each line, turned it over, examined the bottom, sniffed it, held it up to the light. And asked questions. Difficult penetrating questions that made me realize that I’d held back, that there was still more to tell. His questions took me down paths that unearthed tiny pieces of the puzzle of my experience I didn’t know were missing.
And now all I have to do is make those last few changes. Easy ones, especially after what I’ve been through. But there’s been a force field around my manuscript. I haven’t been able to crack that file. I’m anxious and miserable. I think what’s happening is that I’m afraid of finally being done. I’m afraid I will have nothing more to write. I’m afraid of sending Loveyoubye out into the world where others will get a peek into what I’m about. But you know what, I have to do it. Writing this book revealed a whole lot of me to myself and provided a healing I wouldn’t have found any other way.
Maybe now that I’ve been able to write about it in this blog, I can make those changes. And get on with writing.