Yes, yes, I know. I have been saying that for a long time, actually, and have found in my journals that I have, in fact, been writing this book, although in different forms, twenty-five years.
Yes, I know. But I’ve been busy. Wait until you read it. Even me, writing it and having lived it and now re-lived it through my journals, I stayed busy. And in another fact, that’s what people would hear when they asked me how I did so much.
“I stay busy,” I’d say.
Now I have days and days when I write, work out, take a nap, and write. I may or may not get to the gardens before winter. However, what I’m also learning is that I always had a hard time getting to the gardens, which I had invariable planted, in one way or another before winter. Even when I lived in the desert and needed to cover the strawberries in a vain reproduction of farm life. They did not exactly prosper but they survived. Corn and eggplant thrived.
The above tunnel, if you’re wondering, is the light at the end of the tunnel. I have one long final climax. The last chapter is pretty well written. Hence, light.
In one of my latest chapters, I wrote about a family reunion with all my siblings and aunts and uncles and mothers and cousins. Well, my mother. And after describing our, my Sibs and my, behavior when things rattled, I wrote. “We only got older, not different. Except we laughed more.”
I guess that’s what I’m discovering about me in this memoir, culled from journals and letters I received and letters I wrote and poems I half-wrote, I’m pretty much the same. I’m not different, just older. Except my busyness is now sitting at home and writing and culling letters and sometimes, when my head gets too full, cleaning one or another of the rooms upstairs in our old house. And I laugh a lot more.
15 thoughts on “I Have Been Writing”
You’re lucky to have all of that documentation, Janet, to follow through time. I think of all the people who store info on their phones and computers now, and it’s just not the same. Harder to find the authentic self in a trail of old emails (if you haven’t deleted them). Wonderful post, and I hope you’re doing well. It sounds like your writing and life have attained some kind of harmony, which I envy!
Well, I expect the harmony is there because I haven’t started the selling part…yet.
I’ve come up against a funny resistance: ending the book. And so, have puttered through wordle.net, fine honing sentences from pesky over-used go-to words – went, still … and have told myself it’s time to begin the end. Begin, no doubt, another over-used word. I am, I think, getting punchy.
And yes, I admit to being a hoarder. The years and years of saved letters. Years and years of journals. Years of … well, that. If I hadn’t there’d be no memoir as memory is one of those gifts gods gave to someone else.
Yet, I must confess to a certain confusion of years while writing, a confusion of when I was doing what. And discovered I was also, in those far off years, confused by the year, too, sometimes writing one year before, sometimes the correct year, sometimes writing 1977 when I mean 1997. You can see how that might occur.
Anyway, I’m enjoying the process. Looking forward to reading yours. J.
Good morning, Janet!
How poignantly written…. “We only got older, not different. Except we laughed more.” It’s good to read you here…You write with a calmness and ease that soothes the reader (i.e. me). I am in the midst of moving to a new apartment in Brooklyn at the end of the month and I’m up to my ears in bubble wrap and boxes…Your post brings me peace and tranquility…knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel indeed!
Looking forward to reading your memoir 🙂
Much love and friendship on this Tuesday and always,
Ah, Lia. Bubble wrap and boxes. I remember them fondly. I have now lived in the same house since 2003. That’s twelve years and the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I was born. Truly. Before that, the longest time I lived anywhere was from age 9 to age 17 on the farm. I have bested my eight year record. Maybe that’s why I’m finally getting writing done….and this old house in an old section of town has indeed been a “light” for me. However, the journey goes on….
I’ve heard Brooklyn is re-surged and shining these days. I hope it’s fun for you. One of my last bartending jobs was in Brooklyn Heights – 1985ish – when the renaissance was just beginning. I liked Brooklyn.
And to think: I gave up a rent-stabilized apartment with windows on 85th and West End for $550 a month to go live in Mexico. And I wouldn’t trade that journey, the Mexico journey, for any amount of money.
Your next journey will be a gift, too. Let there be light!!
Dearest Janet! Please forgive my radio silence! Things have been so frantic as I’m preparing my big move next week… Brooklyn indeed is the hottest real estate location now , with Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg and Greenpoint soaring! I’ll be in South Brooklyn, not as hip but still BK:) Your Brooklyn adventures sound incredible…Your words here make me smile, especially the last line about my next journey being a gift … You are a master wordsmith and I’m blessed to read you and have your support!!! Happy weekend my friend:))
Reread your post again and saw a line I hadn’t grasped: You write with a calmness that soothes the reader…..
No one’s ever said that. I’m incredibly humbled and grateful.
This brought an enormous sense of gratitude that my comment can touch such an amazing person like you! It’s all true:))
I love reading about your process. It all makes perfect sense of how your book is coming to light. Yes, we don’t get really different as we age. And laughing a lot is fun. Like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.
It has been … well, what…fun and instructional and staggering to be back in those years again. I’ve often wondered why I didn’t publish more; goodness knows, I was writing. But now I know: there was so much DOING that I never got around to it!
Thanks so much for always reading and commenting. J.
It’s sounds as if you’re in a good place, Janet, which is good to read. I, too, feel not different, just older, and not necessarily all that much older, at least all of the time. As for the laughing more bit? That’s vital and healthy! Long may you laugh!
Thanks, J. I am in a good place, actually. And I bless my husband every day for saying, stay home. Finish. But then, it’s his story too, and he does a great job of making sure I’m laughing :). And I am so very grateful I finally found my sense of humor in my writing, even when things were, more or less, serious.
The leaves are turning. I told my son today that we’re going to mulch them and put them on the gardens. Easy. Well, easy for me anyway. He’ll run the lawn mower. And faster than the whole raking thing. I’ll sit here and write and watch them fall. LOL.
I enjoyed this post, Janet. I’m so happy that you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been digging out all the extraneous paper, books, supplies, photos, old computer discs–you name it–from my office. Like you, I’ve uncovered plenty of material for my current writing project, which will also be a memoir of sorts. And laughing is so important! I agree.
Oh, my Vicky: books, supplies, photos, old disks…. yep. And there it is. The memoir, more or less, in pieces. One of the challenges had been knowing what’s vital to put in and what is just (just?) interesting and well written. Whoosh. And now, as I’m reaching the end, it feels like one big pile up. The thing is, that’s what my life was like then – a BIG pile up of all sorts of things.
Hopefully, you’ll have remembered to date all your entries/letters/etc so you can keep on track. I realized, after becoming confused at what year I was in, that I was confused then too, sometimes putting one year on letters, sometimes another. LOL. Took a while to get that all straightened out!
Loved this post !!!!
Thank you! What a great reply to read, Frankie. And three exclamation points! I consider that good….