“So what do you do?” the brash young gentleman on my right inquired.
“I am a writer,” I responded
“Do you write every day?”
“Yes, I write most days. I am not an author per say; I am learning the craft of writing.”
“10,000 hours” Bruce Lee comments in my mind
Ten thousand hours of practice to master any art. At my age, 55, writing has become one of my purposes as I journey thru life’s gate into the last third of my life.
“What are you writing” the next question popped from the mouth of a neighboring dinner guest.
“Currently, I am writing a memoir and then I would like to progress onto writing young adult fiction.”
I steadied myself for the question I knew was coming; the dreaded question.
“What is your memoir about?”
Why? You might wonder would that question cause a rock to sink in the pit of my stomach. I cringe with the asking. My memoir is like a chameleon changing constantly. Adjusting with the expansion of my craft knowledge, with high dive plunges into pools of previous personal traumas. The more depth I can tolerate, the more my memoir changes. Writing about myself requires the processing of oppressive emotions. Stirred by old painful memories left sitting on the shelf of my subconscious. Writing a memoir creates a narrative skin I can own and wear comfortably.
The keyboard was my scissors to shred the gray drape of depression; a thick wet fog, dropped over my head, seemingly out of nowhere, and clouded my vision. I sunk into a perpetual bog and I was no longer able to perceive the importance of my life. My children had left for college, my marriage was on the rocks, I had a major accident, and I no longer engaged in a challenging career. I could not deduce meaning in the future; I could not glean a reason in the past. It was a haunted place to occupy. My mind padlocked in a closet of my making, I could not allow people in, and I could foresee a viable exit. It was a span of my life I needed my friends and family the most. It was a time in my life I pushed them away the hardest.
Writing helped me through this anguished period. It was a tool I could use, needed to use, driven to use, to help integrate my past, cobbling a path to progress forward. Creating a storyline of my personal history has been a soothing healing balm on old wounds. Writing through my depression began to give me a purpose.
Have you ever come to a point in your life where you ask yourself the question “What has happened to my life?” Is it important to you to create purpose in your life, find passions?” The “mid-life crisis” is a duration we can utilize to gather ourselves; to look back at what we have accomplished, to ponder on what we haven’t, and resolve emotional trauma’s stored until life slowed down a little bit. For me, the integration of past traumas took several years. Eventually, I began to process the pain of the past, the loss in the present and start looking forward, rebuilding my relationships, creating new relationships, finding exciting activities to participate in, and discovering my purpose, passion, and drive for writing.
If you asked me, “What is your memoir about?” two years ago, the answer would have been different. Today the answer is simply, ”It is a story of tragedy to triumph through self-actualization and knowledge.” It is the best gift I can give to myself and in the writing hopefully provide meaning to others experiencing a difficult transitional period in their life.