I have always had an adventurous spirit. I’m not complaining or anything, but sometimes it does get me in to a bit of a bind. Since I am a writer, I’ve been considering the best way to capture some true stories in a fictionalized way.
Writing is difficult. It is a way to say all the things you cannot speak, but the thoughts somehow come out under the guise of a character: any resemblance to a person living or dead is purely coincidence. I think we all know why that was added to the information page of novels. Writing this way, whether consciously or not, can take a physical and emotional toll on the author. Often after I finish a novel I need time to decompress, to let go of that world and those people(characters) that have filled many days and hours.
So, what of writing a memoir then? How does one manage the inevitable pain of revisiting the past? The happy memories will help, but each memory carries with it sights and sounds and scents of a different time. Some better than others. And it seems that once you delve into the memory pool, other things you haven’t thought of in years begin to come forward. Each moment carrying you to other moments until you are immersed in a sensory explosion of emotions.
I am immensely grateful to have these experiences to share. No matter how embarrassing some might be… the most pleasure I get from writing is when someone says: I could relate, I’ve been there and I’m glad you told it the way it really is. It creates a sense of community and sometimes, that is just what they need.
Not all my tales are pretty. Not all are happy go lucky, but I’ve always made my choices knowing that sometimes, things don’t end up the way you plan. Sometimes you get lost. Sometimes you give up. And sometimes, you make bad choices. Still, I would not change a thing because what if…
It’s not for the feint of heart. Often my friends who’ve chosen a more secure lifestyle, say: I wish I could travel alone, live in another country, give up my day job, follow my heart… Sometimes they can but are afraid. Sometimes they have obligations, but more often I think they enjoy the vicarious fantasy of it all, but know it is not their path. I have always encouraged others to live their dreams and maybe someday they will too, yet, I caution them--it isn’t an easy choice. When envy raises their head and they whine, I ask them to walk in my shoes for a minute. Most do not take me up on it.
I still have plenty of adventure ahead. I’m not sitting debating how someday old age will find me, I’m deciding how to pack the most in to every day I have. With the loss of my parents and the inevitable departure of my now adult son, I find myself on the precipice of a freedom I’ve never known. I have always been a wanderer and soon I will be off again. Our worlds change every day. In a heartbeat, nothing is the same as you’ve known it, but when you open yourself to new places and new people, that happens more often than not.
We are all on our own journey. Looking for something that fills that sacred place deep in our soul. Sometimes we find it, but it can be tenuous. Sometimes it fills us so full, we are bursting with it and other times we must journey on until it is our time. I have pushed through fear and indecision and heartbreak, yet, I still rise each day and hope to conquer my fears again. I have experienced true joy and unbearable sadness. To that end, I am grateful that my life has been so full of feeling. I have logged miles and days and years of living and still I carry on searching for more.
Will I write of my adventures? I am not sure. Perhaps they aren’t as thrilling as I think, but if I do, you can be sure that I will tell it just like it is (or was)—and if not, I’m sure my characters will tell it for me.
One thing you can be sure of, each new step of a journey is scary. I am not the bravest person, but I do it any way. What are you afraid of? You will probably come up with many answers, but start small and one day, you will find the adventures that are waiting for you.