A couple of years ago, I set out to write a memoir. I wanted to share my story of adoption and raising children with HIV, but half-way through the rough draft I decided I wasn't quite ready. My family and our story was still evolving–still growing. So, I stuck in in a drawer where I imagined it would stay for a little while. How long, exactly? I wasn't sure. I then went on to write my first novel, The Silence of Mercy Bleu, which I'm thrilled to say will be released in early March 2012. Needless to say, this is a very exciting time for me.
The plan, after finishing my novel, was simple. It was to go onto the next story, and then the next after that. In fact, I'd already finished outlines for my next three books, but like I always say, life is full of surprises!
A few months ago I had this vivid dream that I was holding a book in my hands. Not just any book–a memoir–my memoir to be exact. I could see the cover. The art. Even the title, and I was marveling over the beauty of it. Then I woke up ... ready and incredibly eager to finish it.
AND if you don't believe in serendipity... Not long after my decision to pull out the memoir, I received an e-mail–from (get this) a publisher who'd happened across my blog and wanted to know if I had plans to finish the memoir. If so, they would be interested. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I pulled said memoir out and started typing ... even faster.
With the rough draft now complete, I'm starting in on the first edit. Writing my own "real life" story, I must say, is very different than writing fiction. I'm more emotionally vested and it can be taxing at times, re-living the difficult moments and the struggles, but more often than not, it is an incredibly rewarding experience. Writing it, like living it has become a journey in and of itself; truly meaningful, and well worth it in the end.
Writing has, for me, always been a way to share and connect with people, and it's that connection that keeps me getting up before the sun rises, to write another story, or in this case–another chapter of my own life. My hope for the memoir, when it's finished, is that my readers will take from it something valuable, something that will enrich their own lives, and if by my telling about my own struggles, and triumphs, I give hope to even one person, then it's done exactly what I'd wished for.
June 5th will mark the 30th anniversary since the first documented case of AIDS.
I've learned this: Every person you meet has a story. Listen. Learn. Share. That's how it all begins...