We decided to do it together.
At the time, I didn't even have a particular book in mind. I'd struggled with various ideas for the preceding several years, ever since my one and only previous book, The Reluctant Artist, an esoteric, niche defying "art book/memoir" about my father, was published by a small arts press in late 2015. I'd churned out hundreds of pages of several potential novels. I was really thinking novel this time around. But fifty to a hundred pages in, I'd fall utterly out of love with the writing, the premise, myself for ever thinking it was a good idea.
For the next several months, I wrote like a 63-year old woman possessed. Whatever that looks like. A bit unkempt, too many snacks, schlepping around in robe and slippers. Not pretty. But I did it. I completed a draft and submitted it to Ellen for her review mid-January. I now await her suggestions and thoughts. Whatever the outcome, I completed a draft of an entirely new book in a year. Hurrah!
I thank Shelley for the initial inspiration and for being my pal and coach all year long. I thank Ellen Sussman for providing the framework and tools when I needed them and for telling me she believed in my project. I thank my fellow classmates, a great and talented group of women writers. I thank my family, for putting up with my obsession with capturing the past on the page, even when it means dragging them, and events they'd perhaps rather forget, onto the page with me.
That's a lot of thanks. More hard work ahead. Churning a first draft into a final, or at least closer to final, draft. Getting her done. For that I may again sign up for the excellent Sonoma County Writers Camp, led by the amazing Ellen Sussman and fellow author Elizabeth Stark. Me, Shelley and a few others from our class, participated last year and it was a gorgeous, supportive environment for writing and sharing. Great food and organic gardens too. A number of the scenes in my memoir were hatched at the Sonoma County Writers Camp.
There are upcoming sessions in April, August and October. Check it out!