mem-wahr

My books of choice are fiction. I love to let go and ride the currents of a good story. I crave the escape. Lately, however, I’ve come ashore, kicking around in the memoir/humor/social commentary shelves at the local library.

This is due entirely to an interest in writing a book. I’m getting some encouragement, and, frankly, everyone else is writing a book, why not me? When I signed up for NaNoWriMo in November, I asked for ideas on Facebook. One idea — made by a childhood friend (one who knows I have a story or two) –stood out from the rest:

“Write about yourself, same genre as David Sedaris. You would keep anyone entertained.”

I will not even pretend to be as funny or engaging as Mr. Sedaris, but wow, what if?

What if?

I picked up “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” and fell in love. I gorged myself on his special brand of sardonic wit.  I get him.

He had a pet spider (I did, too) that he named and took to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (Unbeknownst to my mother, I smuggled my pet toad into a high-end gift shop and it got out of the box I had hidden in my backpack. Before I could stop it, Herbie hopped into one of those tall Ming dynasty-ish vases. It took some creative distraction of the store staff to topple that vase and coax that brown lump out. To this day, I get all hive-covered when I go into one of those Waterford Crystal type stores. I feel the guilt of a toad smuggler wash over me the minute I cross the threshold.)

He attracts all the town criminals and freaks to his yard (that’s my speciality), dug up all his dead pets to see how they were doing (did that), wanted to and did watch a real autopsy (did that, too,) and was a chain smoker (*cough*) who struggled to quit. I’ve done all these things. We are practically twins.

Then I read “Bossypants” by Tina Fey; the “Idiot Girls Guide“series by Laurie Notaro; and “I’m Really Sad About My Neck” by Nora Ephron. (Let me pause here to ask: is her name pronounced EE-frahn or eff-RAWN? Blame it on my late father, but I tend to go heavy on the Es, as he did. I say things such as “The days are long at the EEEEE-quayter,” instead of “The ehQUAYter is halfway between the two poles.”)

I can’t get enough. These lives, these wacky experiences couldn’t be anything less than the truth — the pathetic, funny and wonderful truth. I laughed until tears streamed down my face. I laughed and snorted and carried on until David Sedaris was officially banned from the bedroom night stand. Over and over I fell in love.

My husband is getting a little worried about all this unrequited love blurring my vision.

“What’s wrong with me? he asks. Do I gotta go gay on you, cross dress, write a rom-com? Get on NPR? What?

Most of all, these talented funny writers inspired me enough to give it a go. The hardest thing is letting go of fear, doubt, self-consciousness and laziness. My life may be nothing more than a series of stupid incidents, a handful of tragedies, a lot of mischief and mayhem, and a dark closet stuffed with bad decisions, but I’ve had a few turns of good luck and nice people who like me to keep things cheerful. So it’s balanced — enough.

Whenever I’m asked about writing a book, I always say I’ll wait until everyone in my immediate family is dead so they won’t kill me when they read it.  That family of mine? The ones who aren’t dead? They have that damn longevity gene. At this rate, if I don’t act now, I’ll be dictating to a ghost writer from my nursing home bed. No more.

If I can’t retire early on the spoils of my success, why not just write what really happened and buy a cup of coffee? Time is running out. Already I have a knee that sounds like a crinkling chip bag when I bend it, and an irrational fear of electricity, cameras, and overhead flourescent lighting.

So, I’ve set up an online site and the outline for this project. I’m compiling archived blog posts with fresh material to someday, with hope, publish something. I’m not in a rush but I do like the idea of having a goal.

It’s a first step. One that sounds like a crumpled chip bag.

 

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9 thoughts on “mem-wahr

  1. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey – is one of my favorite books EVER. She is one of my idols. And I am so excited YOU are really considering writing your book now! Please just keep reminding yourself to let go of all that fear, doubt, self-consciousness and laziness.
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  2. Good for you.

    I love me some Tina Fey and am still pining that we’re not BFFs.

    I, too, have the “My family will KILL me” feeling, but have decided that I might as well do this because waiting around is not getting me anywhere.

    Can’t wait to read it!

  3. What timing. I found a comment you’d left on my blog last year and decided to drop by and see what you were up to. You and I are in the exact same writing place. I just published a book of the exact kind you’re talking about. I gleaned 19 essays that people had found the most humorous from my three years of blogging. It’s called “Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry.” It’s on Amazon. I loved Bossypants and have a total girl crush on Nora Eff-Ron. 😉 Merrill Markoe’s new book is good, too. And I love David Sedaris. I’d love to talk with you more about this, but let me just say Go For It! I wish you all the best.

    • Jayne: Yes! This is what I am trying to do, except it is almost five years of blog material. Slow going. I am surprised at all the support and interest. I’m going to look up your book and the Merrill Markoe one, too. Thank you for your suggestions and support.

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