Next week I will be launching a book. There’s a new kind of terror that has crept up on me. It’s not my first book, so why is this happening? It’s a memoir. And memoir is fraught with so many layers and emotions and involves other people. The ‘other’ people who have been a part of my life who may, will, have different memories to me and see things from a completely different perspective.
So what. Who cares?
I have been working on this memoir for many years. Now that it’s in print – the box of books sits next to me – I can already see how I could have written it differently. Made it better. It had gotten to the stage that I needed to complete it so that I could move on to other things (I have two other books waiting to be written). And the way I’ve written it is experimental. Will readers get it? Will they connect with it?
What am I worried about? I feel that my writing ability is sound but somehow I feel that ‘imposter syndrome’ sneaking up on me. I’ve done the work, had the book edited but it’s not actually the writing that I’m scared about. I’m scared that people will see me in a different light. This is ridiculous because I am the kind of person who lives life with no pretentions, so I think that people know the real me. There’s nothing in the book that can be construed another way. Or is there?
This is the thing with writing, or any artform. The way it’s received will be different with every single person. We all bring our own life experience to a story and interpret it in a unique way. So while I have been mindful of writing it in an honest, non-judgmental way, will it be taken as something else? Will anyone feel hurt or misunderstood by these stories?
So what. Who cares?
If a creator doesn’t care about the creation, why bother doing it? This is the dichotomy of art. We must care and nurture our creation into being, then cut the cords and let it fly to freedom. The world will make of it what it will. We can only hope that it is well looked after. There is always the danger of caring about it too much but in actual fact once it’s out there it no longer belongs to you. You’re giving it to the world. It may be liked, loathed or disappear into the abyss. As the creator we are sending out little pieces of ourselves and hoping that it is worth opening our heart and laying ourselves bare.
My childhood memoir, told in a series of ethereal vignettes, will launch at Busybird Publishing next Wednesday 8th August at 7pm. The Road to Tralfamadore is Bathed in River Wateris my way of honouring a very special time in my life that has shaped me in so many ways. I’ll be quietly terrified in offering it up to my dear ones but also excited to have it alive and pulsing. I do care and will be putting myself out there despite the fear.