Abook, Abook!

Well I’ve done it—I’ve written a book. Something I’ve always wanted to do and maybe even known I would do. Of course, that particular knowledge was nestled securely in a much less attainable part of my gray matter than that which told me I never could do—write a book, that is. I’ve handed in the very first completed draft of my very first manuscript to my very first creative writing mentor, the lovely and talented Sara Pritchard (Crackpots, Lately).

How to describe the process of writing a book. Oh, did I mention it’s memoir? Writing a memoir, I might describe it as self-inflicted soul surgery. First of all, I have a terrible memory. But I figure that may have worked in my favor. The less you remember, the shorter the book, right? But seriously, after digging around with my soul scalpel for an entire semester and scraping out the significant memory chunks that often led to other significant bits of sometimes gory recall and finally stringing them all together to form some semblance of a cohesive storyline, I think it made the few events I did remember that much more meaningful. Or maybe I don’t think. Maybe I just hope.

Secondly I’m extremely bored with my own background information. But it seemed (and my mentor, the lovely and talented Sara Pritchard will certainly correct me if I’m in error on this count) to be necessary for the rest of the story to work. So I plunged forward through that extended yawn and can now only hope it turns out to be more interesting for other people to read than it is for me to read over and over and over again. Because that’s how writing a manuscript goes. I say this is my first draft, but I’ve actually revised every section of the draft anywhere from three to eight times already. Three to eight sets of revisions just to get to a first draft. And I’ve got a whole semester of first draft, second draft, and maybe even third draft revisions to look forward to after this.

That’s how to describe the writing process. It is neverending. Right now, that is the most frustrating part. But as I continue through the process, I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever get used to the neverending quality of the work. If I will grow into it the way one does certain physical features, like cheekbones or an Italian nose (speaking only from personal experience, of course). If the tables will turn and what I now call frustrating will, over time, mold its way into a habit of mine. And if that habit will eventually and oh so gradually take control of my feelings on the subject so that instead of wanting to get it over with, I’ll look forward to the neverendingness of the process as if it were an impossible old friend, arms forever open in unconditional and eternal invitation. Always waiting, forever there. Just for me.

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4 Responses to “Abook, Abook!”

  1. Michael Workstel says:

    Lovely post Tara.
    Your voice is so clean and pure and bright and full of hope and….
    I am so looking forward to reading your BOOK!
    Congratulations. MUSH!

  2. Mary Janzen says:

    Congratulations on writing abook! This is a great description of the process of “soul surgery” (love it) that is writing. I hope some day to be fortunate enough to be permitted to read your book. (Please?!) I remember that when I was writing my M.A. thesis, I was definitely in the wanting to get it over with mode; perhaps your attitude described here will inspire me if I ever aspire to write something “grander” than my usual pathetic articles/blog posts.

    Re: “Why she cries” — this is almost a sort of blog haiku. It’s funny, this morning my cat was following me around crying and looking at me mournfully until I reclined on the sofa and she sat on my stomach. She was all happy until anytime for just a moment I stopped petting her, at which time she started mewing again. In my case, I can really never begin to guess what goes on in those little heads.

  3. Mary Zbegner says:

    Dear Tara,
    How cool this blog is! Now, I want to write one, too, but I’m too technology impaired and time challenged. Someday, someday …

    Your metaphor of soul surgery with the scalpel touched a nerve in my heart. You know I shared this experience with my memoir, and I could not think of a better comparison. Very fresh and imaginative.

    Your voice is lovely – clean, bright, and real. I can’t wait to read the book!

    And like your dog, I look at my husband and whine, wishing I, too, were young again.

  4. tmcaimi says:

    Hey everyone! Thanks for the great comments. I want to see what happens when I comment to your comments. I’m still learning how this blog thing works …

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