It’s day 1,049 of writing a memoir. While I’m closer to the end than I used to be, I am not there yet. I always thought I’d be a writer because I was good with words, because my brain is whack, because I say things nicely on the page, because I got As in English and Cs in math. But lately I think my words are using me. I am the alcoholic who has lost control to the bottle. I let the words dictate my life. I write it because it sounds good.
I have been praised for my ability to control the words and to use the words to control myself. I was a diplomatic project manager when I dealt with sixteen different difficult personalities by email alone. I have been rewarded for my cool reason on the page. I can harness complicated emotions and pin them to the page in a poem.
But now I must kill the writer as if she were the angel in the house. I have to let loose the control, the carefully crafted words. My ability to string together beautiful, self-contained sentences is interfering with telling the truth. Or rather, with telling the story in all of its excruciating detail.
I need to let go what I have been praised for. I need to relinquish the control. I need to let the story out of its channel and flood the town.
How does your writing hold you back?