"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Sometimes my mind wanders

First, it was a lot of fun to sell my books at the Placentia Shop Small Boutique. I gave some books as prizes, sold some, and as usual, made friends and connections.

Where am I next? Celebrating Read Locally: Local Author Day at the Yorba Linda Library on April 6 from 2-4. I don't have a flyer to show you, but here is the link: https://www.ylpl.org/authorfest/ 

I will be flying back from a conference in Columbus, Ohio that same day, so if someone could bring me a Starbucks and slap me into consciousness, I'd appreciate it.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about memoirs recently, having read a couple of good ones, Honeymoon at Sea by Jennifer Silva Redmond, and When Your Heart Says Go by Judy Reeves. I've written a sort-of memoir in my book From the Horse's Mouth, even though it is fictionalized a bit and told in first-person Snoopy. But I've never thought of writing my very own memoir, mostly because I don't believe anything huge and life-changing ever happened to me.

Did I go through two divorces before I found a man I not just loved, but felt safe with? Yes. Did I move from Illinois to California by myself in a Honda Civic with my dog Tyler? Yes. Did I walk away from a lucrative 30-year career as a software engineer in order to write, work with my horse, and be in the room when my son had a question? Yes.

Do these things make a memoir? No, mostly because these big things weren't as important as what went on before, and what went on before was a series of little things. I was 23 years old when my grandfather Hansel died. I was close to him, and I remember driving down 22nd Street in Decatur, Illinois, feeling thoroughly unhappy with my life and thinking that I had to stay here because my parents would be unhappy if I left. 

And then it hit me that my grandfather had died, and someday my grandmother would, and then my parents, and I would have lived my entire life trying to keep them happy and have a shell of a life when they were gone. That little moment was the catalyst, the idea that I wasn't living the life I wanted. The trip out west seems anticlimactic by comparison.

I mean, I am 70 now so maybe it's time to write a memoir, but it might never be time to publish it, and the public might not take the time to read it. At least I have a couple of title ideas. I was thinking of:

1. Things I Did When I Wasn't Doing Anything Else, or

2. I Think I'm Boring But What Did You Want To Know?

Maybe I'll stick to fiction.

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