Let me warn you. This post is gonna be all about me ranting about the dreaded censor... if you're a serious writer, you know what I'm talking about.
As one of my writing friends, Robert Masello puts it, 'before you can really get any book rolling, much less done, there's a fearsome beast you've just got to get past. It guards the gateway to any book, and snarls so fiercely that many writers pick up their heels and run for it. This beast represents a big problem, one that you have just got to come to terms with, because if you don't, your book will suffer for it. You'll be writing the whole thing while trying to look over your own shoulder, and that, I can tell you, is a surefire way to run smack into a tree.'
Let me interject here. I've been trying really hard to keep the censor at bay. I've read the best way to write an auto-biography or memoir is to just write, to just let it all flow, then go back later for minor revisions and rewrites. That is the time to tweak the words, the sections, the pages into a real work of heart.
At times, it's so hard writing the story of your life. For the memories you share, are your memories, not necessarily the same memories of those you're writing about. You are writing your story.
I am writing my story. The way I saw things. The way I felt. How I survived. How I overcame. Some may not think I had much to overcome, but they weren't walking in my shoes at the time. How could they know? It's why I'm writing the book I'm writing.
Let me share more from my friend, Robert.
'The censor is the nasty little voice that keeps whispering in your ear, "You can't say that.You'll hurt Harriet's feelings, " or "Better not include that scene, Uncle Ben will know who you're talking about," or "Sex? You're going to include sex? Your mother is going to be reading this book!"
The censor is the one that keeps pushing you away from your own experience, your own true feelings, in a futile attempt to render everything you write, so neutral, so unrecognizable, so foreign to your own real perceptions that not a soul you know, living or dead, could possibly take offense.
Am I prepared to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? - As I felt it, as I lived it, as I remember it?'
The dreaded censor.
Writing a memoir is hard work.
I walk a fine line. A very fine line.
Do I write my book as I remember things, as I felt them?
Or do I write my book with the dreaded censor on my shoulder?
I struggle with this every day. Every day.
What are some of your thoughts out there? I welcome your views.
How would you write your memoir, if you were writing one?