Creative Writing · Life

I’m Writing a Memoir

After pacing our cozy apartment in an effort to straighten things up a bit, I rewarded myself with some leisure reading. It had been so long since I read anything for pure entertainment but I couldn’t find any fiction that held my interest. I browsed the shelves of our neighborhood library looking for interesting covers and book descriptions among the thousands of options until I found a memoir.

A young woman shared snippets from her life’s biggest milestones after college – moving into a cramped apartment with her best friend Kimmy and mastiff named Gizelle, landing her first non-food related job and life in the busy city of New York – in a colorful endearing way. I scooped it from the bottom shelf and sprinted for the checkout kiosk as if I was trying to secure it to my library card before everyone else in the place realized what a great read it was and started a bookworm riot.

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Fast forward back to earlier today. I’m lounging on the couch, leaning over to one side, and reading that book I just described in the last paragraph. At this point, she’d just gotten her first corporate runner job and is starting to find her way in the big apple. I could feel myself getting excited for her as I sped through two chapters. I remembered how exciting, challenging, fun and difficult things were when my husband and I had set off for a new city with nothing but our stuff, our dog and a couple of bucks.

Feeling inspired, I marked my place in the book with a postcard, one of those spam mailers you get a few times a week, and jumped off the sofa. Limped actually. I’d hurt my ankle exercising the day before. I stooped down, running my fingers along the books we’d collected over time and stacked haphazardly on a wide bookshelf that doubled as a stand for our flatscreen TV. It wasn’t long before I spotted them. Three well used, ruffled planners that I’d kept from 2011 until 2014. My memoirs.

I wanted to tell my story and these planners held stories, to-do lists and random doodles that I’d scribbled down over the past couple of years. After some digging through other stacks of books randomly scattered around our apartment, I found two more of these precious books and stacked them on the bed. Six years of my life was now set before me on the wrinkled, ripped and drink stained pages of my planners. There were plenty of gaps, pages where I hadn’t bothered writing anything aside from a to-do list. Other times, I had used them as diaries, writing my feelings down in great detail.

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To help me fill the gaps, I read my archived blog posts that I’d written from the spring of my last year in college until now. I really should update it more often! My last resource came in the form of videos that I’d put up on Youtube. Most of them are vlogs that I’d recorded of fun and normal days of marriage for us to look back on. This was it, my first novel, something I’d wanted to write since middle school but had been thrown into a pile of dreams deferred as life happened.

While I was at it, I thought I’d knock out two dreams in one go and decided to put my sketching skills back to work. Aside from a book, I’ve also dreamt of writing and illustrating my own picture books and graphic novels for women over 20. Pulling out some blank sheets of printer paper I thought, What the heck, you’re getting ahead of yourself. I knew I couldn’t illustrate six years of my life in multiple panels on thousands of pages. It had been a long time since I drew on a daily basis and I didn’t want to put more on my plate than I could chew, so to speak.

So I opted for providing a photograph or two for every chapter that I included in my book. With my childhood dreams drifting into view, I set sail on the seas of creativity. I finally had a passion project, something I could design from start to finish without anyone telling me to change (or ruin) something in order to appeal to their personal interests. I pulled out my laptop and started typing the very page you’re reading now.

While some of this book (one that will be published on my blog first) had to be embellished – names changed, a few details left out to protect other’s privacy and stuff like that – the heart of the story remains genuine. This is the tale of how a young woman transitioned from college student, to adult, to wife to business owner over the span of six wonderful years.

Lastly I want to thank my husband Brandon for encouraging me to pursue projects that make me happy. I also want to thank you the reader for taking an interest in my posts. I love hearing from people so by all means, please let me know what you think of each book entry. I’ll be sure to use the category “creative writing” so they’ll be easy to locate.

Have courage,
Elle

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