Monday, August 16, 2010

'Fessing Up

I am writing a book.

I sat and stared at the sentence above for a minimum of 5 minutes before I began writing this sentence. 

{Deep breath in, deep breath out}

When I was a junior in high school, I took a world literature class.  The class was taught by one of the oldest teachers at the school and believe me, he wasn't very Grandpa-ish.  No "hugs or mushiness" in this classroom.  No Sir.  Pomp and Circumstance meets stern and crude.

I had Mr. R for a semester of sophomore english, which is where our tumultuous relationship began.  He was, by far, the most diffcult teacher I've ever had.   I remember reading a poem aloud at "the pulpit", that a past boyfriend had written and given to me (I recently stumbled upon it in a scrapbook my mom has of my childhood).  Let me assure you, your teacher laughing is not professional, nor is it encouraging to a fragile sophomore who is just trying to do her work as instructed.

The poem I read aloud was not a great masterpiece.  But it wasn't crap either.  It was creative, and from the heart of a boyfriend that I still think, till this day, was underestimated. It was special to me, special enough that I wanted to share it.  Share it in anonymity to protect the writer, because I KNEW my classmates would laugh when they heard who had written it.  I certainly didn't expect my teacher to follow suit.  He also forced me to share who had written the poem, which was the beginning of my sour taste toward this teacher.

Let's get back to the world literature class during junior year. Mr. R told me not to take the class.  Rarely was it passed by anyone other than the future salute and validictorians.  I didn't care.  The class interested me.  While I wasn't fond of Mr. R or his crude humor, I did enjoy picking his brain and the rants he went on about literature. The man was indeed brilliant.  I took the class, despite his warnings.

I remember the first day of world lit.  Ufta. I remember leaving that class along with several other girls, and we all walked out of his doorway desperately asking ourselves what we were thinking.  Surprisingly, all but one of us purged on.  

Parent teacher conferences rolled around, and world lit and I were not getting along.  I should say that sour taste was increasing and my tastebuds were not obliging.  My mom and I walked into Mr. R's room.  He told my mom I should drop the class. That I was not smart enough to learn about world literature and that if I ever envisioned a career in writing, I should kiss it goodbye. 

My mom and I walked out of that room, with me shaking with fury and wondering what my mom would say.

"Drop the class."

That is what my mom said to me. Seriously.  I knew I had a rock star mom, but this play I was unsure of. 
I did indeed end of dropping the class.  I'm sure Mr. R felt a victory in his favor and laughed when he was my name removed from his class roster that next week. 

My senior year, I took two semesters of ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH.  I passed both semesters, in case you were wondering.  Not by a hair, or an inch either.  Mr. R had consulted with the AP English teacher, surprise, surprise, that I should not take the class.  The AP teacher talked to me about it and we forged on.  He believed in me, and I believed in myself. 

That class was one of my fondest memories of high school.  A young male teacher with a handful of intelligent young ladies.  He had his hands full with us, but he pushed us.  Pushed us that we were ready for the new teacher that graced us with her presence during second semester.  We read brilliant works such as Death of a Salesman, The Scarlet Letter, Antigone, and beautiful, beautiful poetry.  We wrote, and wrote, and wrote. We were challenged, again and again.We discussed things that I never thought I'd be able to understand.  I grew as a person, and {eek, am I really saying this} a writer that year. 

Mr. R visited our class one day, and was quite obviously surprised I was still in the class.  At one point, he gave me a "well done Miss Malquist" and walked out of the classroom. 

I sure as hell did smirk through the rest of my day...and rode that high of proving Mr. R wrong for about a week.

My mom never doubted my skills as a writer, or as a learner of English.  She later told me he was an idiot and I didn't need that in my life.  She knew I would succeed, world lit, or not. 

On a side note: Thanks Mom

My grandmother always told me I should write for a newpaper as a journalist.  Either that, or be a lawyer, because I sure could argue.  When we brought AJ home, she told me to write about our journey. After brushing her off 100 or so times, she changed her strategy, telling me to write children's books for kids like AJ.  I brushed her off, naturally.

When I started our second blog (the one you are reading right now), I began hearing people say "You should write a book."

I've probably heard "You should write a book" about 500 times, the last suggestion coming from one of AJ's therapists.  People even tell me to write a my face.  What do I say to that?  Yikes.  And, yeah, I brush them off, because I don't know what to say.

So here I am, 'fessing up. 

 I am writing a book. 

Meaning, it is already in progress. 

And has been for about a year. 


I've found this writing process, or whatever you want to call know, lets stop for a moment.  Can I tell you how uncomfortable this makes me, using writers terms?  I mean, I'm not a writer.  I'm a woman, a mom, with a whole lot to say. My grammar, punctuation, and whatever are no where near perfect.  After all, this is a blog.  But I guess that would be an editor's job, right?  Or whatever.  Ok, lets forge ahead....  I've found this process increasingly difficult.  I began writing at the library one day when AJ was at school.  I kept it hush-hush, even from my hubby for a while, because I was afraid of pressure collapsing my already present hesitation about writing a book. 

I can tell you, so far, that my process is sloppy. It's mish-moshy.  I'm hit or miss.  I often have a lot of writer's block.  A LOT.  I have to be in the right place to write.  Physically and Mentally. Meaning, a quiet space and a clear head. Which, if you read this blog, ahem, clearly, I don't have a clear head a lot of the time.  I  have spent many hours talking out loud to myself in the car, thinking of how I want to structure a certain part of our journey before I type write it out.

It is, and continues to be a slow process.  For a while I was afraid of that fact.  Thinking it was a good enough reason to quit and not write the darn book.  I mean, really.  Who wants to read our story?  Who wants to read our crazy journey.  Apparently, somebody does. Otherwise I wouldn't hear "You should write a book" 500 times, right?

The slow process works for me, now that I have come to accept it.  Especially since what I am writing about is so deeply personal.  Each word I write carries a lot of weight with it.  As I write, the weight is freed from me and burned into the words of our story.  I know, it sounds so over the top.  But I'm being completely honest.  The emotion and tears that come with the words are healing me, little by little. I have shed many tears while writing.  Many, many tears.  Writing is healing me, which is quite amazing if you've ever experienced it.  Each chapter, each event, each sadness, each happy moment is relived, captured, and freed.  I never realized how much grief I had/still have about the very beginning of our journey to parenthood until I started Chapter 1.  I felt all the same emotions while writing about AJ being taken from my arms during our first visit, and a few thousand words later, AJ being placed in my arms forever.  This is amazing stuff, my friends.

It wasn't until I started writing that I realized how unique and moving our journey has been, and continues to be.  I want to share it all. The rollercoaster. The ups, downs, highs, lows.  Our story is not perfect.  Not perfect is ok too, and I'm going to tell you why.  If there is another special needs mom who I can make smile and laugh for a just a moment of her crazy day, I'll be thrilled. We have a story.  A story I am 'fessing up to writing.  My only hope is that I can do it justice.  Lord help me....

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. And, I totally expect it to be autographed in person, by the way. YOU GO GIRL!!! :)


Directions for Leaving a Comment:

Scroll down to the bottom the post you wish to comment on. You will see the time/date stamp on the bottom along with the number of comments and a small envelope. Do NOT click on the envelope! Click on the "0 Comments".

A text box will appear for you to write your comment. You can use Anonymous, just leave your name at the end of your comment so we know who you are! Thanks!