|Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on January 13, 2014 at 9:15 AM|
When I was in school I found it exciting at exam time, to be handed a few pages of foolscap, and a list of questions to test my retention of the knowledge that had been imparted to me in the most recent school term. I don’t even know if they have foolscap any more, but that extra-long sheet of paper, was exhilarating to me. Even in its emptiness, it was full of challenging possibilities.
The beginning of another year is like a new page. Endless possibilities present themselves. As a writer, I am looking forward to fulfilling some goals. Some of my aims are brought forward from last year, for my targets were thwarted by my husband’s unexpected medical problems which didn’t allow for a concentrated writing project. Oh, I did write shorter items, but my main objective wasn’t met.
This year, having had good news about the effectiveness of the new cancer drug my husband has been on, and the difference it has made in his overall feelings of well-being, I am hopeful that I can realize my goal—writing the story of my life.
For some years, I have been keeping a file on my memories. Of course they don’t come in a neatly ordered sequence, but the computer has made it easy to enter little slices as they come to me, into their approximate space on my time line. The recollection has brought joy to my days, often growth and new understanding, and at times healing as I write them into my growing file. After the publication of my novels, my family has been encouraging me to put those into a book. That idea gave me the courage to share little vignettes with my writing group. Their response and eagerness to hear, read and critique more of them, gave me extra impetus to really work on it.
For some time I’ve been wrestling with what should be the focus of my book. There are various possibilities.
• A collection of short stories not necessarily with connections to the one before or one after and perhaps no logical progression from one to the next.
• An account of my struggle to feel valued as a woman even if my strengths were more fitting for a male in the culture in which I grew up.
• A narrative about my faith journey from a conservative Mennonite upbringing to a different understanding of Christian life.
• The experiences as a child and on into adulthood that made me feel different and not neatly fitting into the role that was expected of me.
• For awhile, I thought of Out of the Ordinary as a title and therefore as a focus.
• Now I’m wavering between that and Stepping Stones focusing on using the difficulties, the differences, the hurting times,(the stumbling blocks) as stepping stones.
If I had time, I could perhaps make several books out of the different ages and stages of my life, but realistically my time is limited. Considering that it has taken me eight years since my last big project to get this book written, I’d better try to combine much of it in one book.
I know that I want to share these memories and life experiences with my children and grandchildren, but I also want to write it for a wider audience so that hopefully others may see themselves in some of my struggles and perhaps identify with me enough that the reading could inspire them, and encourage them to use their personal stumbling blocks as stepping stones.
In the past week, I’ve been reading and re-reading, moving things around and writing additional memories. Those are the beginning steps toward the goal of publishing by the end of the year—hopefully in time for Christmas.