Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Last week, I finished the first draft of the memoir I’m writing about my illness.

That is to say, I did it! For the first time in who knows how long, I’ve completed a long-term project that is not a quilt. It’s the first time since getting sick I’ve written anything longer than a short story! Actually it’s much longer than a short story—roughly 600 pages. Over the past seven months, I’ve been blurting into my Cruzer (G:) drive far more than anyone cares to know about a ten-year period in my life. (I didn’t know I had it in me to be that self-obsessed.)

I find it embarrassing that I’ve written so much, as if the 600 flabby pages were flesh and not verbiage. Flabby is still the right word for it. I haven’t reread it, but I’m sure it’s full of excessive recollections and boring tangents, as unsightly as cellulite. But that’s OK. No one has to see it until I cut away all the blubber. This is also known as writing the second draft.

As tempting as it is to start rewriting it now now now, I’m going to set it aside so that when I can come back to it with a fresh perspective. This, I am told, is the most effective approach. Even Zadie Smith recommends it.

After a few days of paying bills, downloading some new music for my ‘pod, and calling the credit card company to tell them to stop sending me those *%#*&^* checks I never asked for (it works, it turns out: they told me they’d stop sending them—try it yourself!), I’m devoting the rest of the month to short stories, perhaps even catching up with this badly neglected blog, and playing Connect 4 and basketball with David, who just arrived last night for his summer visit.

In August I’ll start toning and shaping my whale of a memoir.