Friday, January 9, 2009

My goal over the next few months is to write a memoir. I already have thirty pages in rough draft. This morning, after reading "Writing True" by S. Perl and M. Schwartz, I decided to do this prompt: "Finish the line "I want to tell you that ..."" Here is my response:

I want to tell you that something bad happened to me. To which I hear, “So?”

I want to tell you that I reacted to it in a way that would have been unfathomable to me prior to the fact of my reacting in that way. And that it is unfathomable to most people when they hear how I reacted, especially people whose job it is to sit in judgment of others.

The reaction felt as if it had an infinite number of layers, like mirroring a mirror, like stop sign ahead signs (stop sign ahead sign ahead…). There was, of course, the initial reaction, or lack of reaction, in the moment of the incident, then the reaction to that lack of reaction, then the reaction to the reaction to the lack of reaction, and so on.

I want to tell you that it is not at all uncommon for humans (especially, I suspect, women) to react in the same way. And this is what needs the light of day shown upon it.

And, for me, this ‘something bad’ was major enough to completely knock me off course… but minor enough for me to remain mindful of, and, in fact, record through daily writings, the mental decline and subsequent (complete?) recovery.

So, I believe that if the emotional/spiritual/physical reactions to this type of life-changing event are played well, are allowed to exist in full, with reasonable support, then human growth - incredible, unforeseen, deliciously rich, I-wouldn’t-trade-this-part-for-the-world, growth can happen as a result.

And that’s the story I’d like to tell.



  1. You've really got me interested in reading on, Janice. I like that you haven't told us yet what it is that happened, that you focus on the reaction, and I like that you are acknowledging the complexity of the reaction--that makes me feel as a reader that you'll not render anything that you tell us in simplistic fashion.

  2. I think it's really good that you can put into words why it is you want to write about your experience. I felt like this was a good summary, and also a kind of declaration, something you can come back to when you get stuck and remind yourself of why you're working on it.


Please feel free to jot down your thoughts. I would appreciate knowing your reaction if any, to what I've written, and/or your feedback on how I've written it. I am actively trying to be a better writer.