The holiday season brought to mind the impact of community. Community with which we gather to celebrate various seasons of the year are part of who we are. My online writing community became my support in 2014 during some difficult times, and without them, I would not carry out nearly as much as I do day-to-day.
Primarily, I want to thank Madeline Sharples, author of the memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, her story of living with her son's bipolar disorder and surviving his suicide. You can read my review of Madeline's memoir here.
I am also grateful to Madeline for tagging me to take part in this blog tour. Madeline's tag simply jarred me out of the doldrums of the Pacific NW winter and back into the life of writing. Read about Madeline's work-in-progress here.
So here goes:
Synopsis and story idea :
My memoir is the age-old story of a dysfunctional and abusive mother-daughter relationship. However, my story has a surprising twist, one I never expected and I doubt my readers will either.
Until I was 57, I believed my mother despised me and did everything within her Southern matriarchal power to destroy my dreams and aspirations. Suddenly, however, everything changed at a point when she found herself in need of finding a way to escape abuse herself.
My husband and I became her salvation and in a matter of months, she died peacefully. However, a silent, invisible gift was left as she gained the home she always dreamed of.
The first draft is finished. Upon reading it, I made the earth-shattering discovery it did not read well and needed major revisions. Not surprising, I’m told by other writers.
In the meantime, a local Portland author led a workshop I attended in August 2014. I enjoy her books and writing style. Her teaching methods and background tempted me to sign up for a course an artists and writers’ collective sponsors. As luck would have it, I fell ill two sessions into the course and had to drop out. I will be able to start over in April and hope this course equips me to write a stronger story line and develop characters forging together my story in so readers will not want to put it down.
Here are brief excerpts from my first three chapters:
Mama’s Toolbox [working title]
For some time, I ruminated over writing my story down. What would family say or think? What would friends of our family say or think? Should I change peoples’ names? Should I write under a pseudonym? And then the last question, why obsess?
It is, after all, my story and my mother’s. And yes, it is a story written many times by many different people. Yet every story is different. Each one defines a difficult mother/daughter relationship differently, especially those of the abusive kind. And I believe each one has something in it to help another, maybe more than one person.
I picked up the phone as soon as I’d sat down a couple of bags and checked for voice mails. There were a couple from my boss, but also one from an older brother that put into motion unexpected emotions at my end of the line.
“Hi, there! Thought you’d want to know what I did with your mother this weekend. Call me.”
That was it. What he did with my mother? She was his mother too. What was that all about? And what could he have done? I held power of attorney for our mother’s health care and finances, so he couldn’t have legally done anything with our mother.
As I flew toward home in Oregon and all things comfortable, I considered the events leading up to this trip. So far, it had not been an easy one. Several weeks of anguish over my mother’s confinement in a nursing home and her allegations of abuse had pointed me toward resolution of my mother's situation. It is said “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), and I clung to the hope this was true.
In many ways, however, I felt that perhaps the truth was about to imprison me. My plans surrounding Mama’s situation were indefinite from this point forward. No detailed, step-by-step recipe showed me where I’d be in a day, a week, a month, maybe in years.
The work-in-progress blog tour rules:
1. Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.
2. Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress (I overdid it a bit on this one).
3. Nominate four or more other writers to do the same. (Unfortunately, many of the writers I would select had already been tagged, and at the end of the day I came up with only three takers.)
Tag. You’re it!
I’m so pleased to recognize and introduce you to friends and writing colleagues who have agreed to take part in this work-in-progress blog tour. I hope you’ll stop by their sites and get to know them and their work.
Dorit Sasson is an author, blogger, teacher, blog talk radio host, mentor and coach. Basically, Dorit is a busy woman. Dorit’s writing appears in Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Time, now part of a best-selling series, and she has published two books on teacher collaboration for K-6 ELL students. Dorit’s work-in-progress is a memoir.
Luanne Castle is a woman of varied talents. Her bio shares her educational background but getting to know her through her blog and her poetry and memoir writing has shown me she can juggle many styles of creative arts at one time. Luanne’s first full-length collection of poetry, Doll God, hit bookstores January 10, 2015. (Congratulations, Luanne!). Luanne is also working on a memoir.
Jade Reyner and I met when I reviewed Jade’s first book in her Twelve Days series. The first and second books, Twelve Days: The Beginning and Twelve Days: The Future, are now under editorial review and will be re-released soon. The third in the series is still a work-in-progress, and Jade has plans for at least two others in this series. If her writing doesn’t keep her busy enough, she is mum to two boys and volunteers at the local school.
Dorit, Luanne and Jade for so willingly agreeing to take part in this WIP blog tour. I look forward to reading your posts in the future.
How about you? Do you have a work in progress you’d like to share? Share in the comments and perhaps someone will tag you!