Life Writing

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I have been saying that I am going to write a book about my life since high school. I’ve started that book more times than I can count, but my squirrel brain and just life always tends to derail the project, or as I am writing my life in some excruciating detail I determine that “no one wants to read this shit” and then I stop working on it for a few years.

I read a lot. It’s the one amazing gift my mother gave me. She was a reader, and books were her happy place. I was horrible in school, but my reading and writing skills were always years above my peers. I learned how to write by reading. I honestly can’t tell you grammar rules, and all the parts of sentences and paragraphs. Obviously as an adult (and with the help of grammar check and spell checks, just correcting my mistakes has taught me how to be more grammatically correct with my writing, but I still use punctuation…well, creatively). I am an editors worst nightmare, because when I do write this book – my creative punctuation stays. I ve found it paces my readers and allows them to read in the way that I am thinking; like sight-reading music. I love commas, you know, take a break, stop skimming, breathe. My ellipsis use is a bit of an addiction… I don’t want to end my sentence yet, the semi colon confuses people and they stop, but this thing here… it’s a longer pause than the comma, go off into space for a bit and think about what you just read and then….heres the punchline/lesson/rest of whateverthefuck I’m trying to convey. Most of the time now I use things correctly, but sometimes I really just don’t give a shit. When people start paying me for these writing adventures, I’ll start following more rules. Until then though, if any grammar police should decide I need lessons – I will probably spew profanity and creatively punctuate it.

The people who read my writing seem to be a combination of people who truly just want to see what kind of outrageous shit I’ll say next, and people who are genuinely interested in the things I write about. I am open and honest about things in ways that people in our “hide your shame” society are just shocked by.  Most people want to use pretty words to describe horrible things. I want readers to see, feel, and understand those horrible things. Protecting people from ugliness doesn’t make it go away or solve problems. I can say “I have a drinking problem” and people will nod, smile, and then move on. If however I say, “When I drink I blackout and piss on things and fuck strangers” well… the response is usually a little “WTF?” and a lot of interest. Responses are more like, “That IS a problem isn’t it? Tell me more. I’m horrified! Get help!” If you are going to put your life under the microscope of public opinion, its best to just be blunt about it I think.

One of the main obstacles to my book is my memory. A life of trauma leaves a lot of holes, and a family that didn’t talk about anything and just sort of plowed through everything makes for giant holes in my storytelling. Also, I spent a good amount of time drunk – which didn’t help that one bit. So certain events I remember in vivid detail, but others I just sort of know that ‘something happened’ and our lives changed and that was pretty much the end of things. Like my grandfather passed away, and I was told, and that was it. It was a heart attack while fishing. No drama, a natural death of an old man doing what he loved. Except there was no service. He died, and it was like he never existed. I have no idea – he was always very good to me but I do know my Mother and him had a strained relationship. So I know next to nothing about my Mom and her relationship with her parents other than what I’ve been able to piece together but that relationship I now know dictated a bunch of the crap my Mom was drinking to erase. So writing about things becomes difficult when I am trying remember my own experiences, but sometimes I can’t even explain why I was in a certain situation in the first place.

The other blogs I have kept and the many journals and musings I’ve written over the years are my notes. I do stuff like this because I can tackle this story in smaller pieces. The blog format is my favorite, because I don’t need to ‘sell’ it. People who want and like to read stuff will find me and provide that bit of audience I need to convince myself that people are actually interested in this. Whether or not its a large audience or just the handful of people who follow me waiting for when I put this stuff out… well you guys are enough to push me past my own self-loathing to write it all out.

Basically, this blog is my way of remembering, writing my memories out when they are triggered rather than trying to force memories to create a seamless story. The editor can put that shit together one day…. for right now, as things come up, I write about them. Sometimes it takes me to dark places, sometimes I celebrate victories, sometimes its just the world around me and how I interpret it (which is dictated by my experiences so those stories come to the surface even if I’m writing about things which have nothing to do with me or my life directly).

My tag line for the blog is, “Life is a story…and I am here to share mine.” It encompasses anything and everything, and sometimes nothing in particular at all. I think I am going to just abandon trying to write content for others…I just can’t muster the same amount of passion for current events and “educating” as I used to, and if I’m not ‘feeling it’ I don’t write it. I’m sure I’ll go there off and on, but I am quickly discovering that this blog is turning out to be the one I’ve always wanted to do – and while entries like “America! Fuck Yeah!” will happen, they won’t be the main fodder here. More like this. More introspective and thoughtful (even if profanity laced and hastily written). Right now I am enjoying getting up in the morning and sitting here with my coffee, and just starting to type and see what the fuck comes out. I have no agenda other than getting this all out of my head so that one day I can organize it into that book. If people find answers here; I’m glad. If they find a kindred spirit here and don’t feel alone in the world; I’m glad. If people are bothered by things I write; Im glad. If I can teach someone something new; I’m glad. Mostly though, I’m glad Ive found the courage to just be myself and really not hinge my writing on what I think people want, or what might sell someday. I’m just me for once and I’m still figuring out who the fuck “me” is.