I’m focused and committed. Or am I? I came across the following paragraphs in my document files just now and was stunned to see the date they were written: June, 2015. Today is August 12, 2016, and I’m still in the exact same state. What is wrong with this picture?
“Three or four years ago I began working on a beach book. I had seen a small volume in which the author took pictures of the sky with her cell phone and put them all in a book. Very little writing was involved, but there were dozens of pretty pictures of clouds and sky. I remember thinking, I could do that, and I started right away. Armed with a Blackberry, I took photos of beaches in North and South Carolina and matched them quotes, observations, and stories.
” I was working, working, working and let the project slide. Yesterday I took a look at the manuscript and realized with a heavy heart I had missed the opportunity to publish that particular book. Pictures and comments were clearly linked to November 2010 to November 2011. Plus, the gimmick (all photos being taken with a cell phone within one year) wouldn’t work.
“Ever the optimist, I think with some tweaking, I can still put together a nice book of beach photographs. In fact, with a few exceptions, every picture I’ve taken since that period is better than most in the manuscript. And I’d like to think that my writing has improved, largely because of input from my writing group. By mid-July, I’m hoping you can see that book on Amazon. lol
“I’ve also been dabbling with a combination memoir/how-to book on teaching. Light on methodology and heavy on experiences and recommendations, I hope to create something useful, informational, and fun for all aspiring teachers. I’m also hoping some colleagues, past and present, will toss in some ideas and experiences.
“And then there’s the family history book I’ve been pondering for several months. I’m not sure why, but many senior citizens (I can say that now without cringing) feel that same urge. In any case, with a nudge from my sweet sis, I’m typing away. This project will probably take a bit longer since I’m including research from other family members, cemeteries, and archives.”
Update: The beach book is still on the drawing board. We’ve visited a few other beaches since that time, and I’m adding those photographs and captions to the work in progress.
I’ve written three drafts of the teaching book. Striking just the right tone is proving to be problematic. It’s serious material, and yet there’s always a way (and a need) to lighten up. Plus, although it’s important to me and my story, is memoir related material an asset or a liability?
The family history is daunting. Putting together the narrative is the fun part; getting the dates, times, and names is a bit more trying. In preparation for the writing, I read two family history books by a member of my writing group, and instead of being encouraged by them, I felt more discouraged than ever. Without doing a lot of research, the book would be a thin booklet, a dry one at that.
On the plus side, I’ve also written a few stories and have had a couple accepted for publication. More on this later. And I put together a booklet of bios for my high school class reunion.That was challenging but fun.
Time to revisit the family history document. I just recalled a quote by Linda Hogan that our writing group used in Serving Up Memory: “Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”
What are you working on these days? How’s your work progressing?