This week I’ve been bashing on with the first draft of my memoir. Having got unstuck from the transition at the end of the Beginning, I very quickly found myself at the Crisis, the point at which I had no choice about changing my view of myself. The Crisis forced me to leave my carefree childhood behind.
I was jump-started into adulthood, ready or not. I wasn’t ready and resisted by going unconscious – not literally, but in terms of my awareness of what was happening. There was a tiny bud inside me that pushed towards growth and transformation but that shoot was weak at first. Antagonists conspired against its growth. Mostly the antagonists were my ignorance of the facts of life and my resentment towards anyone who tried to help me grow. I always felt they were manipulating me to their own ends. I still resent other people having agendas for me.
Another problem as I was writing: I would keep forgetting what I’d identified, with great difficulty, as my character flaw. I had to keep going back to my notes to remember the most important thread of my story. It still resists being made conscious. If I’m not alert, it quickly slips out of my grasp.
This week the question of the scope of my story recurred. Am I trying to write too much? If the Crisis occurred at age 11 then I need to reach the Climax and Resolution much earlier than I planned. Other people write multiple memoirs. Mary Karr has just published her third and Catherine Gildiner, her second. I keep going back and forth on this point and now I’m back in the camp of shortening the time frame and restricting the story to my childhood. I will keep writing the first draft and see where it takes me.