Many times, I’ve been told, “You should write a book.”
While flattered that many think I have something worth saying, and humbled that they think my voice could convey a meaningful (or at least entertaining) message, I am not ready to write anything more than this blog.
To be honest, I’d rather write a book about doing something meaningful, than just about my life. I’ve read many an autobiography and just writing about one’s life, though a valid manifesto of all that person has experienced, felt and thought, is not enough for me. And perhaps more so, I don’t know that I’m in a place to thoughtfully reflect on my story as a whole. I don’t know what the arc is, the crescendo seems to be before me, not behind me. Right now, I am trudging through the realities of each moment and cannot step back to see the bigger picture.
Not to long ago, a good friend sent me Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir, and as I laugh heartily through her advice on how best to impart the lessons learned in one’s life, I realize even more that I am not yet ready to write my story. I’m not ready to talk about a past I’m still in the midst of processing. I’m too emotionally tied to the events I’ve experienced and am experiencing.
Mary Karr asks when you sit down with a memory: “Can you be in that place without falling apart?”
The truth for me: No.
I am still falling apart. I am still breaking. I keep wondering when I’ll stop breaking and I don’t know that I’m done yet unfortunately.
And even when I’m done breaking, it will take a long long time to rebuild. That story may be more interesting than the story of pain that I am living just now. People like stories of rebuilding. People like the stories of coming out of the fire and healing from pain. They aren’t really sure what to do with stories in progress. That’s why we invented blogging.
Maybe I’ll never rebuild. That too would be a story. I often say that things don’t get better for everyone – people die in many desperate circumstances from starvation to war to suicide. That story I would leave for another to tell in my absence through all the writings that already exist – in letters and emails to friends and family and caregivers, an endless number of journals, and this blog. I believe that story would be just as powerful as any I could tell while alive.
Whatever story emerges, it will include the stark realities of my failures, weaknesses and faults. I will do my best to be brutally honest about the mistakes I’ve made and demons I’ve faced. I will not do it to aggrandize my ego or in an effort to claim that somehow I have significant wisdom to reveal. I will humbly offer it merely as a record of what I have lived that perhaps it might resonate with another.
Whatever story I end up living, writing, and perhaps dying, I will continue to write here about something that matters more than any one story – health as a human right.