I am an author, so it is probably evident to others that I like to write. Perhaps not so obvious is the fact that I also like to read. It doesn’t matter the genre of the book. I love reading Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Westerns, Dystopian, or Contemporary. So, if the title or the book cover catches my attention, there’s a good chance that at some point, I will curl up on the sectional in my family room and read that book.
Right now, I am reading a memoir entitled “Talk About Hard: How I Survived Sociopathy, Narcissism, and HIV in one Marriage” by Kareen Avalon. The author’s story was so gripping that I found myself grabbing the book to read it when I should have been working. The author took me through a range of emotions: anger, sadness, and happiness. I even forgot the fact that I had a toe fracture and tried to curl the broken toe. Needless to say, it hurts like hell. Memoirs tend to reel me in. I suspect it is because it leaves you feeling connected in a genuine way to the author when it is well written. Memoirs are revealing. They can serve as a source of motivation for people who experience the issue, trial, or struggle; it feels good when you discover that you are not alone, and someone else has gone through something similar and probably understands how you feel.
My love of memoirs may have subconsciously led me to choose this genre as I wrote my first book. First, I wanted to share, encourage and inspire my readers. I wanted them to understand that I’ve walked a similar path and appreciate their struggle. Second, I hope that as my readers read my memoir, they feel connected and less alone. Third, I want my readers to believe that at least one other person out there has struggled similarly and lived to tell a positive story. Finally, I hope my memoir encourages someone ready to give up, that they can overcome their obstacles.
An aspiring author who learned that I was writing a memoir asked me this question. “When is the right time to write a memoir? I responded, “There is no right time. Begin at a specific beginning point and a specific ending date, and then write your story.” He then asked me, “Is there an age limit on writing memoirs? I mean, what age is too early or too late?” I replied, “Don’t place a time limit on the subject. If you feel impressed to write, then do so. Moreover, no one knows when they are appointed to die, and there is no guarantee that you will reach age 65. So, just write.”
As I wrote my story, I felt compelled to write about the ups and downs, the mountains and the valleys, the days of sunshine, and the days of stormy weather. I recognize two critical things. First, it is this combination of good and bad things that make me who I am. It is those experiences that make me tenacious, determined, and unwilling to accept the word “impossible.” Second, I learned that no matter what comes my way, I can handle it. Because, as I sit back and reexamine my life and the experiences I encountered, it is a miracle that I am still standing. I hope that as I share the most intimate and emotional truths of my life, there will be at least one person who will leave the reading experience saying, “if she can do it, so can I.”