It’s amazing to me that anyone with a difficult past completes a memoir. The process redefines difficult. When Rob Roberge was asked about Liar at a reading in San Francisco, he said it was not fun to write and it wasn’t fun reliving it on the book tour.
The first vomit draft of my memoir was like ripping strips of my own skin off with a rusty razor, having it all restored at night, and doing it again the next day. Once that big-ugly-everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink-draft was done, it took work to separate myself from the person on the page. That separation is necessary to go on to more drafts and to start to build a structure. It’s been about as much as I can handle and so this blog has languished again. Sorry. I think I’m back to weekly blogging now, but we’ll see. If nothing else, memoir writing is unpredictable, full of emotional triggers and black holes. With my editor’s help, I made the turn to approach it more like writing a novel and it became somewhat less harrowing.
Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from those triggers and low points, from rejection and the lows of the process. Why do some people become overwhelmed while others develop resilience? I don’t know. We saw it after the 1994 Northridge earthquake here in Los Angeles. Some people broke down unable to function and some of us started picking up the pieces after the sun rose. Perhaps that’s the gift (and I hesitate to call it that) inside trauma — nothing seems as bad by comparison.
Our knees are calloused from praying – we do not want our hearts to be.
We will not run out of tears. We will also not run out of bullets. We have practiced getting around bans for millennia.
We will not run out of compassion for those grieving. We can also choose not run out of wisdom.
Creating empathy in the human heart begins with the stories we tell. The best stories are not about “others.” They are about us.
#Istanbul #Orlando #Paris #London #Yemen#Kenya #NewYork #Somalia #SanBernadino#Tunisia #Brussels #Egypt #toomanymore
A piece I wrote for Women Who Submit
by Diane Sherlock
While working on my MFA at Antioch University, Los Angeles, I started my fourth novel, Wrestling Alligators. My primary mentors for the book were Rob Roberge (Liar: A Memoir, Crown 2016) and Gayle Brandeis (Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write, HaperOne 2004). I finished a first draft for my thesis project in May, 2009, and continued to polish it to the point where I was confident about sending it out to agents. At the time, my daughter was an assistant to a lit agent in Hollywood, and he read it and recommended an editor he’s worked with for many years. I sent it to her and she peppered me with hard questions about the material, pointing out that some of the imagery was in conflict. She was pessimistic about my solving those problems. That lit a fire under my inner…
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Love this piece by Karrie Higgins.
The day Prince died, I was walking to the audiologist office to pick out hearing aids, Purple Rain playing on my purple iPod, my lipstick-red walking cane tapping its drumbeat on the sidewalk, vibrating through my wrist bones to my elbow bones to my shoulders to my clavicles to my brain, telling me: I am whole. Without my cane, without that drumbeat, my brain gets confused: Where is my musical limb?
The cane makes music just for me. When I walk to the beat, I drum to the beat. Doesn’t matter about my hearing anymore. I am a walking musical instrument.
Except it does matter, because certain music saved my life. Certain music still saves my life.
Maybe I can hear Prince like I did when I was a kid, I thought. How much of his music am I missing? What frequency is his voice?
I wanted a purple hearing aid to match my pastel…
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We all need help from time to time and you never know who you might help. Even those who are and will always be strangers. Robin Williams and David Bowie had no idea they helped save my life as a teen and adult. That is part of why your story is important. Whether through business, art, writing, acting, filmmaking, ceramics… you just never know what you put out that might inspire or save another. So yes, create for yourself first without judgment. More importantly, put it out there. We are all meant for relationship, even those of us who are shy.
And if you are so inclined, we could really use the help with festival fees and the balance of post-production costs. Donate now!
The first time I heard David Bowie, I was a suicidal teen alone in my room listening to the radio. His music and his artistry changed me. His songs kept me alive when most of my plans involved figuring out how best to end my life. He showed me how much more there was in this world and that there was a place for invention, imagination, reinvention. The voice, the presence, talent, personas, fashion, all of it, made an enormous impression on me. He was the only musician I saw in concert more than once. I prefer new territories to revisiting and that was part of his genius – there was always new territory. The news of his passing was a gut punch. I’d just watched Blackstar a couple days before and it didn’t seem possible he’d leave us so soon. I loved the way he folded all his curiosity about the world and ideas into his art; I love it that as he faced death, he created Blackstar to say his goodbye; I love it that he was smiling and gracious right to the end. Rest in peace and thank you.