Drafting My Memoir
Perhaps I'm alone in this but the word "memoir" has always bugged me. Don't get me wrong I enjoy a good memoir: from "Size Matters Not" by Warwick Davis - probably the hardest working little person in Hollywood to "Bossy Pants" by Tina Fey. I've read a fair share of memoirs and autobiographies. But the word "memoir" in my head at least sounds pretentious and kinda douchey.
Maybe it's just me but a good life story is accessible and hopefully relatable on many levels. It's earthy, salty and lacking fancy college words. Or perhaps my roots are showing. For me growing up with an inconsistent education I used my vocabulary amongst many things to cloaked my poverty. I was very insecure about my intelligence and felt if I sounded smart no one would be the wiser of my embarrassment. I think we all do this, pretend like we know what someone is saying or we're too afraid to ask a question because we don't want to look stupid.
However, I believe we all have an exciting or important story to tell - which should be told from the heart. So here I am with my heart on my sleeve, again, saying a lot of fancy words does not a good "memoir" make.
Let me share a story. When I went back to school in Spring of 2009 I had been out of practice since I graduated in 2000. My math skills and some of my grammar chops were in the gutter. So I had to take a few extra special non accredited courses at my college. It was a bummer for sure, having to fork out a bunch more money for classes that weren't going to bring me a credit closer to my degree. However it's what I had to do.
Yet remember I thought I had an excellent vocabulary so I should be able to breeze at least through this non accredited writing class. My first assignment was an essay based off a Edward Hopper painting. Since this was an art college it was really great they tried their best to align our homework with an artistic flair.
So this painting by Edward Hopper was that of a train station. Nothing elaborate or surreal. It was a slice of Americana, rustic and strangely familiar in composition. Perhaps I had seen the painting before or it was just that common of a setting. Nonetheless I decided I would wow my teacher with all sorts of flowery phrases dripping with ethereal metaphors upon metaphors. Again I wanted to be perceived as an educated man. Well my teacher saw right through me! He said "this reads really nice. However I don't believe you're really saying anything." Oh no! I'm busted! He then helped me let go of this odd impulse to complicate my thoughts while writing and just focus on saying what I'm thinking or feeling. It was strange at first but so liberating!
The funny thing is how I was so bent on trying to prove I was sharp when clearly I was placed in this remedial writing class because I was rusty. I needed help. We all need help. It's apart of life and nothing to be particularly ashamed about.
So while I embark on drafting my memoir I'm reminded I have nothing to prove. I just have a story to share. And I believe perhaps this is the greatest reason I'm compelled to share my memoir. Not out of some sorta delusions of grandeur. Not from the insecurities of trying to convince the world I'm not a fool. Heck we're all foolish at times and that's ok. Owning our limits are important, how else are we going to do the impossible if we don't see what we never thought we could do before.
I'm writing a memoir that is deeply deeply personal. And while if you're here and have read this blog you might have a bit of familiarity to the stories I'll be sharing. But know that this memoir is something that scares me. It scares me to even confess this. I've been locked away in my head: injuries, hopes, fears, dreams and desires that many who know me might have to rethink the man they think I am. And hopefully this will encourage you as I take an emotionally terrifying step forward.
I'm excited to share these stories too but also nervous. Because this will be the first time I'll literally be able to say "I'm an open book".
thanks so much for reading 📖
p.s. I've decided on a title for my memoir and plan on calling it:
"I'm Only Dreaming"