On a Journey

I’ve realized I’m on a journey.

No, I’m not talking about the one we are all on with Abby. This one is all my own. My life is changing. For the better, but still – changing. I’m setting goals I never thought I would set. And I’m achieving them. I’m working on a career path… a career I never anticipated. I mean, I always thought I was the one who belonged behind a desk. And while I can definitely thrive there, I’ve realized I can do just as well, if not BETTER, in front of an audience. Of course, it helps that my audience is always in a kitchen – my favorite room in the house. πŸ˜‰

And then, there is this decision I recently made. This decision to write a book. I mean – have you ever tried to sit down and write a book? I’m finding out it is VERY difficult. So much planning is involved! As usual, I’ve had to do some research. Part of that research entailed me going back and reading EVERY SINGLE ONE of my blogs since Abigail was born. I had no idea how tough that was going to prove to be!

I shed a lot of tears, for a lot of different reasons. I recalled all of the frustrations and heartache we faced, along with the triumphs and the happy moments. I was back on that roller coaster again. But not only did I read what I wrote. I also read what you wrote. All 251 comments that have been placed here over the last year. I don’t know which was more overwhelming – my own emotions put into words, or the words I was met with from all of you…

Where the book was concerned, one comment stood out among the rest – a dear family friend named Jacque suggested I write this book as a memoir. Actually, she called me a “grassroots feminist” (It was a compliment, and I’m taking it as such) and asked that, whatever I choose, that my writing remain, “honest, endearing and smart.” I felt honored that someone I’ve always thought to be of the highest intelligence called me smart.

So, I went back to good ‘ole Wiki. Because I honestly had never looked up the definition of a Memoir. Wiki says, “A memoir (from French: mΓ©moire/ Latin: memoria, meaning memory, or reminiscence), is a literary genre, forming a subclass of autobiography – although the terms ‘memoir’ and ‘autobiography’ are almost interchangeable. Memoir is autobiographical writing, but not all autobiographical writing follows the criteria for memoir.”

Wiki explains further: “Memoirs are structured differently from formal autobiographies which tend to encompass the writer’s entire life span, focusing on the development of his or her personality. The chronological scope of a memoir is determined by the work’s context and is therefore more focused and flexible than the traditional arc of birth to old age as found in an autobiography.”

And while that was a great definition, and really helped me to understand WHAT a memoir is, it was the quotes they included that helped me to decide that this was, in fact, the way I wanted to write this book:

Gore Vidal, in his own memoir Palimpsest, gave a personal definition: “a memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.” It is more about what can be gleaned from a section of one’s life than about the outcome of the life as a whole.

Humorist Will Rogers put it a little more pithily: “Memoirs means when you put down the good things you ought to have done and leave out the bad ones you did do.”

Hahaahaha. Honest, endearing, and smart. Love it! So, with that, I decided that this was the map I was going to use to get to my destination. I’m going to write a Memoir. A portion of my life, as I remember it, with as much detail as possible.

The outlines are done. The search for that perfect title is still going (Although “Starting Small, “Love Helps Me Grow,” and “Adventures with AJ” (I won’t be using her real name in the book) are topping the list right now. Let the writing begin!

Thanks Jacque!

-Jen

Starting Small

Book Writing Update:

There is none. Hahahaha.

Yes, I have started. No, there is nothing to read yet. Mainly I’ve done my outlines and brainstorming, and started to form what I think will be the flow of the book. I’ve had some wonderful suggestions, both for Book Titles as well as story ideas (keep them coming, people!) that I am working through right now.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to start small. Writing what will end up being a 2 year story won’t be done overnight. So I am in the process of re-writing (and extending) her birth story. I am hoping to get that story published first in short story form in, say, a magazine like PARENTS or TheBump. We’ll see how that goes.

So that’s the update for now. Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted!

-Jen

I’m going for it

You know those “aha” moments people talk about? I had one of those. Last Monday. In my car.

Not exactly the place or way I expected to have such an auspicious moment. There I was, driving home from work, and out of no where, I made a decision. A big one. In the 12 minutes it took to get from my office to my driveway, I decided, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am going for it. I am going to write a book.

(Pause for dramatic effect…)

I know, I know, I know – we’ve talked about this already, right? Yes, we have. I’ve been told by more people than I can count that I should write a book. I’ve asked opinions and suggestions and ideas. I’ve said maybe I will, I’ve said I’ll think about it. But until a few days ago – I had not made up my mind about any of it – the what, the when,the if, or the how…

I still don’t know how it happened. It sort of came out of nowhere and I found myself suddenly talking to my dog (who comes to work with me) about it all. And I asked Captain Pup, “why not? I mean, seriously – why am I hesitating?” He tilted his head in his cute little way and stared back at me as we sat at that red light. His look said, “No idea! You tell me why not?” Well, it’s a lot of work, for one. And for two, I had no real focus about it. I couldn’t pin point what I wanted to write about. I have several ideas, none of which I really liked. And then it hit me – in that same moment that I decided to do this, I decided how. I told Pup, “You know what? I’m just going to write my story.” He agreed. Or, at least I think that is what he meant by wagging his tail at just the right moment. I’m going to write it like I write everything else you all read here. In fact, I’m going to use my blogs as a sort of outline. I’m going to be candid and honest and occasionally witty. I’m going to capitalize too many words and italicize too many others. I’m going to use WAY too many commas and dashes – but I’m just going to do it.

I have no idea how long it will take. I have no idea how long the story will be. I have no idea what exactly I’m going to say. But the end result will be the same. I’m going to put pen to paper (really fingers to keyboard) and write a story about pregnancy, birth, parenthood, motherhood, and what it means to be a family with a Mirco Preemie.

So there. I’ve shared my aha moment with the world. I feel good about it. And I hope your constant nagging in the near future about wanting a ‘sneak peek” will keep me accountable. πŸ˜‰

-Jen

P.S. I came up with the MOST AWESOME book title ever, only to realize (after a quick internet search) that someone beat me to it! I was going to call it “Half Baked.” Awesome, right? Right? I’m right. Well, it turns out there is already a book out there about a Mom of a Micro preemie and it’s called “Half Baked.” Boo. And, side note, where was that book in my engine searches last summer???? Double boo. Any witty “quick-phrase-that-says-incomplete-pregnancy” titles you think of, please comment here. I will take them into consideration. Thanks!