HAPPY NEW YEAR! A new year, a new decade, a new lease on life after spending the holidays looking at things from the perspective of a toddler. Always puts the important things right back in front of my nose! What else? A new job for some, and certainly for me...a new book to start.
I'll begin something I look forward to - writing - just as others look forward to beginning a new task at work, or perhaps sowing the seeds of a new relationship. Why? Since the publication of my first memoir, MINOR LEAGUE MOM, part of my self-definition is that of a writer. I really enjoy the process. The other reason is that I like to challenge myself, like during a team tennis match or while travelling to a different part of the globe.
I don't agonize over what's ahead. I'm not nervous about how to begin, or what the theme of the writing will be. I've been collecting material my whole life, so there is no great abyss. I'm not staring at a blank page, wondering when the ideas will come. I don't create a huge block of granite in my mind that I must chip away at (though I do) by constant, steady work. Nor do I create a complicated outline (though I've got a rough outline in my head). I just begin.
Where? At the farthest place back in the notes I have kept about my parents, the subjects of my next memoir. They lived into their nineties, healthy in mind and body.l I have so many journals about the funny things they did, the things that gave us barrels of laughter and pleasure before the caregiving started, that I can jump in almost anywhere. I'll give as much background as necessary during the telling.
Everybody's got a memory bank to draw from. Some of it may be disposable, some of it precious. But we've all got talents and successes that make us unique. Or memories! Maybe it was a childhood friend who stood by us, maybe a family member we could confide in, maybe a mentor or teacher who believed in us. Everyone's got a reservoir to draw from to start over or redo. Dig down and take a look, even if you didn't keep notes!
I'm excited, and why not? I'm a grandmother who takes one look at our granddaughters and falls in love every time. I have a husband of forty-three years I still adore. I'm fortunate enough to be healthy and involved in activities I enjoy. I have long-standing friendships with people I love, who love me back.
Getting the jitters about beginning a new book? No way! I'm lucky to get the chance to start over. There have been other, far more daunting phases of life, when starting over involved a lot more than just looking at a blank page.