I don’t even know where to start when I’ve not written in so long.
My husband Michael and I were in California visiting my parents. While we were there, I coordinated an 85th birthday celebration for my mom. It was a production—a live digital video virtual party (is that even the right way to say it?)—so my five siblings from all over the US could participate. This is not my forte, in case you don’t know—neither the organizing nor the “digital-izing.”
A few times, when I woke up at the crack of dawn, as I tend to do, I worked on an essay about D-day—the day my son Matthew was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I plan to submit the piece to a literary magazine, but every time I looked at it, it seemed more and more flawed and I was close to trashing it.
Writing-wise, the week was a bust.
Except that I asked my parents to read part of my memoir manuscript–the story about how ill-prepared I was as a person and a mom for a rumble with a brain tumor.
I asked them for two reasons. First, I want them to know the full story—the parts that they could not have known being 500 miles away at the time; the parts of my pain that I never shared. My own husband, who lived our drama with me, didn’t know about some of that pain until I asked him to read it last fall.
The other reason I asked my parents to read my manuscript is that I want their blessing on it. Not on my story, but on their story within it—who they are and how they raised me, which made me the parent I was and the person I am.
There’s nothing really unflattering about them in it; my Mom and Dad are the nicest people you ever could meet, and I was raised to be nice. But when you’re faced with a serious life challenge, “nice” doesn’t cut it. And I didn’t know how not to be nice because I had no role models for it. It was on-the-job-training for me.
It’s very possible the book will be published after my parents have died, which is why I asked for their blessing on it now. And I got it. Thank you, Mom and Dad.
So I haven’t done much new writing. I didn’t finish that essay. I didn’t submit to any magazines.
But I crossed a threshold and I’m energized to get back on track. I have a memoir to finish.