Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Maniac Over-Analyzer

Some brief background... when I stayed home with my first daughter Jackie (she was born 5/2000), my mom came to me with a great idea. Let's write a book about growing up from both the mother's perspective (written by Mom) and a 13-year-old daughter (written by me). My mom is a published poet (Promises Seeded Inside) as well as many short stories, etc. I have always been more of a technical writer (I wrote IBM's corporate newsletter entirely during my Junior and Senior year of college in Lexington, KY and wrote for my college newspaper and yearbook). It sounded like a nice goal for myself so I wouldn't be completely lost in my new role as mother.

Ten years, seven moves (4 for me, 3 for Mom), 3 children (for me - 7 total grandchildren born for my parents), a retirement (my Dad's), the death of both of my mom's parents and her grandmother, my mom's Parkinson's diagnosis, my dad's heart issues, and countless other life events to sidetrack us... we finished the book. We are currently in our final edit. We have a small publisher interested in the book (and it was professionally edited by an author friend of my mom's - Stephan Horvath, who by the way died not long after editing our novel).

Every second of writing this book inspired me. It taught me so much about being a good parent and how differently a mom sees the events of a family versus the teenage daughter. When I would get bitchy for long periods, Ed would ask me if I was assuming my teenage character just a bit too much. Hey, it's better than always asking a woman if it's that time of month!

I love this book... therein lies the problem. I don't know if I can let it go... send it out into the world and have it scrutinized. It now feels so personal. I won't lie, although the book will have a clear disclaimer about events/people being fictional, a lot of this book was my life. There are people that if they knew how much I based characters on them would be hurt. That's also another reason I want to hold it close to the chest. My mom at one point tried to change some characters to less-closely resemble people we knew, but we both realized it was comprising the integrity of the book.

I am now in my third and final edit before we go into the publishing phase. I have a dear writer friend, thanks Stacey!!, who has graciously agreed to read it and give me her honest opinion. I'm scared. Writing a technical newsletter for IBM never phased me, even when I had to learn an entirely new language in order to write it (those darn corporate cultures! he he), because it needed to be edited by an IBM brain. Again, this novel just seems so personal.

I'm on chapter 12 in my last edit, so hopefully I will gain some confidence. I keep telling myself that if nothing else, my children will have this piece of me when I pass on (as I have my mother's writings) AND I've actually accomplished something other than just keeping my kids safe and doing laundry.

(Just to give you a glimpse into my personality - I edited this 3 times before hitting post, and I will look back occasionally and edit it a few times and re-post as I do all my other entries. Egads!)


Spanks said...

I hope you will start posting some excerpts from the book here.