Saturday, January 26, 2013

Memoir Construction Milestone!

Today, Poetry Week continues.  My friends and I shall go to the library to see if we can participate in the Hobo Poetry Project--more on that tomorrow.

I didn't do much with poetry yesterday.  It was a day of meetings.  Some of them were enjoyable:  a meeting that was more lunch with work friends than meeting.  Some of them were not as nourishing.

In between, I got caught up on e-mails that needed to be sent, but avoided the looming task of sorting through old e-mails.  I evaluated a transcript here and there and awarded transfer credit.  And I sorted through my memoir manuscript.

It's looking like my spouse will be fairly self-sufficient by Feb. 1.  I had planned a retreat there long before I knew my spouse would have surgery; I've been prepared to cancel if I needed to, but it's looking like I won't need to do that.

Hurrah!  I'm hoping to make progress on my memoir.  And last night, I hit a milestone.  At least, I think it's a milestone.

When I started thinking about a memoir, a Kathleen Norris collection of essays, I went through my blogs to see how many posts might work.  I pasted them all into a huge document.  And I've spent the month of January combing through that document to see if my initial impressions held up.

I got rid of all the photos that I'd posted, and I got rid of all the posts that, on second look, didn't seem to fit.  Actually, I'm too superstitious to get rid of them.  I put them in a different document.

So, now I have a manuscript to consider at Mepkin Abbey.  I've got about a hundred pages of good essays that I need to fit into the seasonal organization.  I've got to consider whether the posts stand on their own or if they need revision--and if they need revision, how much?

I've kept the blog posts that I wrote when it looked like I might lose my job and the ones when I realized I would keep my job.  That could be quite the narrative hook at the beginning:  here's a job that doesn't always integrate nicely with the other elements of my life--but what happens when loss looms?  I thought an introduction like that might hook readers.

My spouse thought it might limit readership.  He thinks lots of people will be interested in a memoir that documents trying to live an integrated life as one works in a corporate setting.  He thinks fewer people will want to read about job loss. 

I think he's probably right, but I'll consider it all more fully at Mepkin.

So, more memoir writing than poetry yesterday, but important work nonetheless.

I did catch an amazing interview with Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey as I caught up on episodes of the Diane Rehm show that I had missed.  You, too, can listen here.

Onward to my poetry Saturday!

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