Reading My Memoir

Katie Writing Leave a Comment

 

A friend is reading The Stage Is On Fire aloud with a friend.

Knowing it is published and available has been a very surreal experience. To see that what I have labored over for many years makes me feel simultaneously grateful and petrified. Holding it in my hands. Turning the pages. Noticing details in the design. Remembering where I was the moment that a particular passage was written. Thinking about the songs that played, the smell of coffee, the conversations that surrounded the stories, the gradual disclosure as to what I was writing. Even owning my process took time. I think I was afraid of what people would say. The intimacy of the writing process now meets harsh white lights.

To date, the work has been surrounded in the support of writing groups, editors, and selected friends and family – safe places. Now it is out in the great beyond. My story is now available for scrutiny and judgment. I have definitely lost sleep wondering why I wanted to share it. What was I thinking? I don’t think a certain amount of uncertainty and doubt is unusual, but it has taken me several weeks to take the first steps toward letting people know. Putting yourself out there is scary. I was not prepared for the fear that would lead to a general state of angst, procrastination, and lethargy. The confidence that propelled the process seems to ebb and flow.

A friend is reading The Stage Is On Fire aloud with a friend.

Learning that my text was being read aloud was deeply affirming. They are reading the book from cover to cover in the quiet of their evenings together. My friend has been a dear friend for many years – his father was one of my graduate school professors who had introduced us many years earlier. After reading the “Prologue” and “Confirmation,” my friend said it provided the groundwork for a deep discussion of their family roots, their spiritual foundations, and how their pasts are part of their present. They are getting to know each other through reading my memoir. (I warned him that I cover a great deal of ground. He better watch out!)

My friend shared the way in which his friend responded. Interest in me, as an author and person, grew as my friend’s friend connected with me through my story. She began to ask my friend questions about me. My story compelled her interest. They laughed together at my words. Her jaw dropped in in places. Knowing glances were exchanged, and they were only a few pages in. How would she respond to the later sections that detailed the heavier parts of my journey? What will it be like for her (or others) who read the book and immediately know things about me that I have not even really discussed with close friends?

Writing groups did not fully prepare me. Editing did not fully prepare me. Talking about the text did not fully prepare me. I believe in the power of story to heal, transform, and connect. I am just not sure how I feel about my story.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *