Friday, September 2, 2011

Just A Few More Keystrokes

I do believe I am finally bumping up against the final words of the memoir. Yes, I am.

All of the chapters are written. The order a little revised. Some shortened (or even cut in half). They are a little uneven in their states of revision at this point - I feel like some are polished and ready to go and some may need a little more attention.

Then, today, I had an insight. No, more than an insight - it was an illumination.

See, I've been feeling overall good about this project. And as the missing pieces were completed, I was happy but there was something missing. I thought that maybe I was nervous about completing it, or hesitant to fly it out there into the world any further than I have, or something along that line. But that didn't seem to quite answer what I was feeling.

And as I looked at the chapter outlines, made a few notes, looked at what was there - it came to me.

Problem #1 was that I had this surreal event which is written into one scene (chapter). The scene is totally real and I used it as a base for a Wayward Writers assignment. It turned out really well and, with incorporation of some of the feedback from my fellow Wayward Writers and Ariel, it became perfect. So I left the surreal touches.

One thing which wasn't sitting well with me, I realized today, is that the surreal episode only happened at that one place in the whole book. That wasn't going to work. I needed to either edit it out and take it back to "just the facts" and just the here-on-planet-earth details - or add more surreal episodes in other places.

I chose to add more episodes. I did a preliminary search for potential quotes, poems, and such from around those years and came up with some great people. Then I decided to go with the writer theme. The original surreal scene involved an appearance by Adrienne Rich. So the writer theme was easy to incorporate. I found some other places with a similar energy and tension to the Adrienne Rich scene and picked just a few more to insert some surrealism. So far, the two people I've explained this to liked my idea. One was my partner, who wasn't too thrilled about it at first. But, as I explained what and how I was doing it - and then the why - she likes it now and thinks it's a good idea.

The second thing is that I realized the memoir needed a boost of energy here and there. Not that it's all heavy stuff - but some is, and there needed to be some variety. Adding in the surrealism will add some levity and more sense-feelings to it.

And I also realized that the one remaining unwritten chapter would be better broken into bits of a list - with minimal or no explanation/expansion - inserted throughout the book. There is a reason for that and I think it will help carry the message and story through.

I have found the missing energy in the process of finding missing pieced.

And that's all that's left: typing and inserting the lists pieces, and weaving in the suddenly appearing authors.

Then print and off to for fresh eyes!