Friday, December 18, 2015

On Writing Me

My great friend and unofficial editor gave me The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr a couple months ago. In reading it, I found a quote I immediately liked and felt as if she was speaking directly to me. “No matter how self-aware you are, memoir wrenches at your insides precisely because it makes you battle without very self—your neat analyses and tidy excuses.”  No truer words have ever been spoken. It’s been three years since I really began to focus on Por Un Amor and each time I think I’m done there are more questions than answers. I think a part of me wants to be done because I’m tired of having my insides wretched, or to be honest, maybe there are aspects that haven’t been wretched enough. In a novel where I want to focus on my Ita, there is a light that inevitably wants to shine on me because I am as much a character as she. I am just as important even though I want to stay backstage and let her bask in the limelight. I have to learn to be in the light and also be the stage hand pulling the levers and changing the lighting. I have to learn to be both. I have to get comfortable showing just as much of myself as I’ve shown of her. She is beckoning me on stage, “Andale, Prieta,” but suddenly I am seven years old again, and I want to hide behind the word filled pages of her life as easily as I hid behind her legs as child. I need to edit, revise, and write myself next to her in that limelight. It’s in this space where we can still be together.