There is No Try

I have been wrestling what to do with this body of work here for a while, now.

Scratch that.  I know what I want to do with this blog, and have for quite a while now.  I’d like to turn it into a book.  A real one, bound, with pages, maybe with an ebook version.  But a book.  My autobiography.  A book.  It’s been done before:  Julie/Julia being probably the biggest success.  But also a blog I read, PastaQueen, was turned into the book “Half Assed”.

At first I thought I could publish it mostly as is.  Well, with a ton of editing because some of the entries are quite rough, and most of them are essentially first draft stories.  Stories that when strung together tell the story of my life.  But also unedited, most of them.

At first I thought the idea had merit; I’ve seen books composed of letters before.  This could be a new format:  a book of blog postings.  I wrote them to provide separate, distinct, somewhat viable each on its own, stories.  There are cliff hangers between some of them.  But they are also intertwined and much richer if you read them from start to finish (like you would need to in a book….see where I’m going with this?).  I was eager enough, last September, when I wrote my last “Former Life” entry and moved into “Current Life” territory here.  I pulled a bunch of entries and threw them into a Word document, ready to tweak.

Except.

Except that the result kind of sucked.  It was disjointed.  It didn’t flow.  And some of the writing, it being essentially first draft writing, wasn’t very good.  I was so disappointed.  If I wanted to do this, really do this, I was going to have to go back and use this blog as kind of a set of notes to write The Real Thing.  And the thought of all that work?  That sent the procrastinator in me packing.

Which would explain why it is April and I have only sort of maybe started working on it again.  I pulled the first few months’ worth of entries and started again.  Wrote a few “bridge” entries that explained some of the gaps I found (I never wrote about the scene where my parents told us they were getting divorced, for example?  How’d I miss that life changing event?).  Tidied up some of the writing.

But it still didn’t feel like it could work.  I mean, I have stories, but it just didn’t seem to flow.  So my parents divorced.  Big deal.  So my brother had some major issues?  So what.  Both of those things help bring context to some of the family dynamic later in my life, but the stories about them?  Dullsville.

So I put it on the back burner.  That is, until I met up with a few of these characters from my past.  I went back into this blog and reread some of what I’d written about them.  And I was shocked when some of what I read looked pretty decent.  I’d forgotten about so many of the entries I have put in here.  It’s two solid years of writing, in the heart of it, daily entries that worked my writing muscle and forced me to remember details long since forgotten.  I can’t just let this blog sitting largely unnoticed in the Internet be all this stuff is.  I have to do something with this.

And then I got an idea, after my last trip back home.  I could frame the stories in the context of seeing these blasts from the past again.  It would require still basically a lot of rewriting.  But I think it could give a flow and a purpose to the story that didn’t exist before.  Because let’s face it:  even if this is the story of my life, if anyone else is to find it interesting, it has to be a Good Story.  And I think it can be, if I frame it properly.

So I’m going to try do it.  I had typed in try there, until I remembered that famous Yoda quote:

“Do. Or not do.  There is no try.”

Indeed.

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2 Responses

  1. I am so glad that you are thinking about a book. I actually did read your blog from beginning to end. Once I started, I just couldn’t put it down. There were a couple of times where I stayed up all night reading it on my iPod. Later, when something would remind me of something you’d written, I would think “I read this book — no, blog…” (I had just read them last October, when I went to visit my grandmother for the last time. Your unflinching look at death was a real help, because I had never seen it described so clearly. You helped me understand what I was seeing when I looked at her, and I knew she was in her final hours. I’m sorry I didn’t thank you for that. Thank you.) Your writing is compelling, and I feel like I can relate to you in many ways. Please, give it a shot, or 2, or 3. I promise to be one of the first in line to buy a copy.

    • Thank you so much, Shelly! I appreciate the encouragement…it’s a daunting task, but hearing people tell me that they’ve found something worth reading and following here definitely helps me. Thank you for taking the time to tell me your thoughts!

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