Reflections:

Looking back and recording an entire life can be a daunting task.  My mother’s 78 years on this planet were filled with so many highs and lows, and she was such a character that if I wanted to, I could write thousands of pages about all of the interesting things that happened to her.  Not to mention, all of her zany antics!  I am however trying to keep her life-based novel under 500 pages.  I feel that’s a pretty good read for most avid bibliophiles.  After all, I wouldn’t want someone in an airport gift shop to be discouraged by its sheer volume.  Yes, I am already thinking publishing contract.  I might as well aim high, right? {{{Wink}}} 

So from the start, I outlined all of (what I believed were) the most eventful moments of my mother’s life.  Then, I consolidated them by era and separated them by chapter and… Voilà!  There I was with 81 chapters.  You did read that correctly my friends, I said eighty one chapters! Even if each chapter was reduced to a mere ten pages, that would make my novel 810 pages long.  I had to make some decisions about just how “epic” I wanted; and more importantly needed this story to be.   

It behooved me to walk away from it for a couple of months.  I started the project shortly after my mom’s death, and it was still too emotionally difficult for me to think that anything that happened in her life might not necessarily be noteworthy.  Once I did readdress my outline, I was able to sensibly assess the important issues that shaped her life and molded her into the “Trudy” that was so loved.  Once I did that (and I’ll be honest it took several attempts) I had reduced the novel to a much more manageable 31 chapters. 

These chapters are filled with all of the tragedy and comedy, zaniness and aptitude and most of all, the unique personality that made her life the exceptional adventure that it was.   

I must admit that for the most part, I am having a ball recalling our life together and recounting all of the wonderful stories she had so lovingly relayed to me over the years. 

But as is true in any life, I knew there would be some very difficult moments for me to relive as I set out on my literary journey.  I didn’t want to have the distraction of having to write about things that I was sure would cause me emotional distress, looming around every corner.  So there too, I came up with a plan.  I decided to treat my book much like the filming of a motion picture.  I actually, wrote some of the most difficult chapters first and then later continued to write myself “into” the finished material, seamlessly piecing it all together. 

It’s a system that has worked very well for me.  So if you too are thinking about penning any type of biography that has personally touched your life, I would advise you to lay out a blueprint similar to mine.  It’s a very good way of nipping in the bud, any emotional distractions that may sabotage your ability to perform at your best.  

So onward and upward I go, each week getting a little closer to reaching my goal of finalizing my very first novel.  With each chapter that I complete, there is a feeling of self-satisfaction that I had never known in my life before.  I must confess; I like it very much.  I don’t want to come across as one of those neurotic, unsure of themself guys, because the truth is; I’m not that type.  I’m actually a very easy going, good natured fellow.  But until recently, being proud of myself was quite foreign to me.  Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? 

Until next time,

Don

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Reflections:

  1. you are simply amazing..love love you lauri

  2. Jeanne

    Now if we could get man’s best friend to “sit, stay and type”, this book would be ready for release. Woof.

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