Week 25: One Bite at a Time

June 24, 2010 at 7:16 (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you. ”

As a writer, it bruises my ego to have to quote another writer, but Maya Angelou said it so well. Since I can’t say it better, I’ll let you sit with it awhile. Coincidentally, I’ve been sitting with it for 32 years; the untold story, that is. And it stresses me to not have the ability to tell it. Most of that inability is due to that fact that it’s difficult to write down trauma in a neat story form. Where do you start? When do you end? How do you color in between? It’s just not as easy as great writers make it seem, which is why I’ve given up before my pen ever hits the page. Why write if it’s not going to be great? But of course it goes back to the point Maya Angelou so beautifully made: Because I have to. I have to tell this story, and the gift from my boyfriend’s parents of a 1930s working typewriter has reinvigorated me to do so.

I received the Royal weeks after discovering a Facebook group called the Summer Novelist’s Club. An article in “New City” about a recently graduated writing class that wanted to stay together throughout the summer caught my eye. One of them was brilliant enough to come up with the idea I wish I had thought of years ago: To eat the elephant one bite at a time. To each continue writing only two pages a day for almost all 110 days of their summers so that, in the end, they’d each be accountable for a first draft of a full-length novel. And they’d get together and present the finished works to one another to close out the project. Now that sounded fun.

So I’ve started. Not every day, but at least two pages at a time, every time I do allow myself to write. It’s coming out of my brain and onto the page more easily, now. It gives me an outlet and something I can do for myself every day while I’m bubbling over with other people’s secrets. It’s a story I probably won’t tell to anyone but myself for 40 or 50 years, but it’s felt so great to be able to tell the truth for the first time.

I hate keeping secrets.


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