This Writer's Struggle; Can I Even Call Myself a Writer

When I began exploring writing a memoir, typically in troubling fits and short lived starts, I reflected directly on authors who have inspired me and the “why” I want to write.  I wanted to approach my writing in a genuine, honest and exploratory manner and at the same time I am at a loss on how to do it. 
I read a lot.  Much to the dismay of my friends in my writing group, I am typically reading an already published work I have stumbled across through reading of another and so on.  I am left to provide the lame excuse that I have just not had the time to peruse the hundred or so pages of their hard work and that is shameful.
How does this time reading work into getting more of my non-fiction work of life as a mother and cop on paper?  How do I parlay all of my street wise motherly teachings into my real world experience of having two boys, one with a chronic kidney disease?  How will I work all of the parental indifference I have experienced on the streets of Phoenix and how they contradict absolutely everything I do for my children into a readable 220 pages of memoir? 
That is my question.  So, I hide.  I escape.  I read.  I live through the submissions of others.  I embrace their accomplishments of completed works, of getting thoughts – rambling through their heads at 140 mph - down on paper in some sensible sequence.  I applaud you, Frank Conroy, Tom Grimes, Lucy Grealy,  and Harry Crews.  You are who I listen to; seek inspiration from as I crawl along at the off ramp on my way to work.  My books, all on my shelf sitting in neatly packed rows; times new roman and paragraph, character and quote, call to me and flaunt what is possible when one finally taps into the magic of stringing words together.  To make a scene a song, a sentence a memory and reach across gender, race and culture to pull the ties that bind even tighter.   I continue to search for my path.  Traversing the writer landscape to discover the one meant for me, to reach deep within and bring the words to the surface; much the way my children squeeze all of the good back into me at the end of a very grown up day.   
So I continue to read, published works and yes, I most certainly will continue to dedicate reading time to my friends, we all deserve that.  I still will find kinship and potential in holding that weathered book in my hand, a bookmark from my son holding my place in conversation and feather my fingers lightly across the yellow pages, just for support.   

1 comments:

Dawn Brazil said...

Please believe that every writer has a similar struggle. It's not easy - even for those who have completed the first draft many times over. Writing is a wonderfully, cruel profession. You must love it and want it bad enough to do it. And it sounds like you DO want it. I've read some of your work - your talented. There's no magical easy button that makes everything fall into place but I gurantee you the more you write the more confidence you'll have. Reading is also VERY good. So, you are doing the right things. Keep at it and stay encouraged. This post alone shows how beautifully you can put your thoughts together. Good Luck!!!

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I figured things out late in life, like what I wanted to do, getting married (age 30), having kids, (36 and 38) and changing degrees about 3 times. Now as a cop of 19 years and in my mid 40's, I am finally figuring out some things. My first career or dream of becoming a writer is playing more in my head and daily life than ever. I love it. Thus the blog. It is all mine. I also love being a mother. They are all ours. I love my husband and as a cop, wow.. have I seen some things. Street degree. I got it. Let us learn together. I also am on She Writes.