You’ve been good to me, 2013. I am pleased to announce that I will be publishing a new writing project online to kick off the new year. As I celebrate my 30th birthday in January, I will share 30 days of storytelling through prose, poetry and imagery. Upstately will have a link to the project tomorrow, January 1. I hesitate to call the project memoir because that word is so heavy with connotations. Neither my age nor my experience live up to it. I am simply writing in the vein of the genre, taking courage, and a challenge, from Thoreau,
“I should not talk about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men’s lives…”
I am taking some risk in publishing my past for all the world to see. Though I write with sensitivity concerning those involved, the facts are the facts. Some people are of the opinion that it is “wrong” to talk about the past. That once we forgive, we should forget. Maybe it does not seem fair to tell a story that implicates other people. I would argue it was not fair for a child to have to live that story. Keeping abuse and injustice a secret only perpetuates it. The victim continues to be victimized by the cultural pressure to bury the past. Every story has a time to be told.
I find peace in collecting material and then burning years of journals. Watching the pages billow like fiery roses. I find peace in explaining to my 8-year-old the meaning of catharsis. Beginning to express to her the sacredness of memory and art. I find peace in working with my hands to create mixed media visuals to accompany my writing. I find peace in releasing these things. And in the possibility that another person could feel they are not alone and that there is an end— something that would have made a world of difference to me as I was growing up.
I have many aspirations as a writer but this must happen first. After carrying this story around for the first 30 years of my life, I cannot bring it with me. Working on this new project has been an important process. Putting my past into an art form, working it out creatively. This last year has been like a slow, sweet awakening. A year of beauty and intentionality. A year of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and life changing challenges. A year of finding true, simple joy inside my own little family. A year of friendships that mean so very much to me. With 2014 a sunset away I find myself ready for a fresh year of writing, reading and unexpected upstate experiences. Hope you’ll join me!