Lit Essay: Re-Use, Recycle, & Simplify

DSCN3139I’m even reposting this recycled essay…

Discarded but Not Forgotten

Essay on Volunteer Simplicity

When I was still firmly ensconced in my middle-class formative years, I thought I would grow up, find a good job and purchase the North American dream.  I started off in the right direction by attending and graduating from a university, then after I moved to the big city and decided to pursue a career in music, “reality” hit home.  I found work to support my musical endeavors, but my paychecks could not afford the price of new furniture, let alone, the purchase of a home.

Throughout my twenties, I thought that toiling at my music would land me a recording contract, the musical equivalent of winning the lottery, but Lady Luck was not looking my way.  By the time I reached my thirties, tired of various occupations and watching my dreams fade to black, I learned an important lesson about downsizing.

Some people volunteer to downsize their lives.  They give up lucrative careers and become stay-at-home parents or they seek out the true meaning of existence.  Best-selling authors wrote books about this painless process, Volunteer Simplicity (Duane Elgin) and Your Money or Your Life (Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin).  The difference between the volunteer simplicity crowd and me was that I never chose to downsize and by the time I read those authors’ books, I had already reached ground zero.

I never owned a home, real furniture or any possessions besides musical instruments, equipment, several futons, books and compact discs.  I was already living the “simple life” other envied and I learned that with a little trust intact, the Universe does provide.

I watched Italian filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972, Italian), that chronicled the early adulthood of Saint Francis of Assisi, better known as “the first societal dropout”.  In the film, based on true events, the son of an upper-class cloth merchant, Francesco (his Italian name), stripped himself bare and in his vulnerable state he walked naked into the unknown.  Francesco trusted that God would provide for him like he provided for all of nature and he also believed that we could not worship the Divine and materialism at the same time.

Add to that the ecological impact all our stuff has on the earth and downsizing along with recycling our possessions sounds like reasonable plans.  Incidentally, Saint Francis of Assisi is known today as the Patron Saint of Ecology.

Another film, a documentary by the French filmmaker Agnès Varda, The Gleaners and I, focused on the people of France that live off of discarded goods.   Agnès chronicled the rural people who glean (collect) tons of vegetables, fruit, and grains that was abandoned after harvest.  She also aimed her camera eye at urban dwellers that salvaged discarded furniture left on the sidewalks of Paris.

I have also found abandoned furniture left on sidewalks in good condition, clothing, and books in free boxes as well as, learning how to barter and trade my talents.  Somehow I survived a richer person who found wealth in the simple pleasures of life, listening to free concerts, watching free movies, spending time with friends or strolling through nature.

While acquiring money has its benefits, most people put a lot of time and effort to build their palaces and then more effort to fill their palaces with stuff they can no longer appreciate.  I have observed various people with big homes, vacation cottages, luxury cars and the works, but they are too busy to enjoy what they possess.  Some of them neglect their children, their spouses, and friends, in favor of building another wing onto their palace.

They simply do not see all of the unused rooms in their houses, the dust gathering on their belongings or time racing past them as they rush out into the world to earn more money so they can buy more things.  It is unfortunate that these are the people society envies.

Mansions, luxury cars, and designer brands play a greater importance than majestic mountains, vast oceans, and wild animals.  They take on a greater importance that the joy of companionship, listening to music for the sake of music without boasting expertise or getting in touch with nature without cell phones and other electronic devices to distract them.

People such as myself who choose not to live the “high life” fade into the background, yet many of us (and I am not talking economic poverty), have found spiritual and other sustenance in knowing that the Universe provides for us.  Of course, we still need to make the effort and practicing trust is more challenging than people think.  Now, that more people find themselves abandoned by a gasping economy, they seek out a new meaning for their lives.

I know of at least one dot.com downsize victim (this essay was written in 2003), that turned her life around by pursuing a vocation as a Reiki practitioner and I have known others who found a spiritual practice after losing lucrative careers.

I lost many jobs in my life and I lost my music career after suffering from a long-term illness.  I did not think I would survive and yet the natural world beckoned to me, giving me hope.  Similar to Francesco of Assisi, I relied on God to provide for me and I gained a talent for resourcefulness.

We all have many talents that other people need in this New Era and it is time to return to the concept of barter and trade.  Perhaps then we develop a new confidence in ourselves and we will find security in our connection to the spiritual realm as opposed to the material one.

When people discard belongings, they are in fact, giving those possessions new life.  When we outgrow something we can pass it on to the next person.  And in the end, those things once deemed important in our lives are discarded but not forgotten.  Since I believe that living beings are more important than things, by sharing what we do have with others, we acknowledge the bond that connects us.  The most important lesson I learned in this life thus far has not been how to earn lots of money, but how to contribute my talents to the world without living the North American dream.  And besides, I don’t really care for white picket fences.

Originally written the summer of 2003, copyrights Patricia Herlevi

This is the only authorized version of this essay.

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Diary of a Reluctant Vegan (Essay)

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Labels don’t interest me usually because they feeling limiting and often dangerous, like crossing over a threshold into unfamiliar territory. And when we slap on labels we are most likely seeking confirmation or validation from a group. This leads me to think that we wear labels because we have issues with self-approval.

So, I am reluctant to wear the vegan badge even though I am on board with the vegan practice, for the most part. But I also know that becoming vegan is not as easy as removing animal food products from one’s diet. And it goes beyond watching animal abuse documentaries, which are torture for me. Guilt is a horrible motivator that never leads to self-empowerment. And this is not to say that we wallow in ignorance either. However, I feel that if we inspire people to eat a vegan diet out of health reasons, and many people switch to a vegan diet, then the industries that abuse animals will need to change their tune (and draconian practices) or go bankrupt.

I feel that the idea of the perfect vegan (who doesn’t eat any animal products, not even honey and does not wear any animal products) is impossible for most people. Vegan and organic food, especially if it is also gluten-free are expensive. I spend over $300 a month on these types of food and supplements a month. So, this leaves me with only enough money to purchase my shoes and clothing at thrift stores and that means I wear leather, wool, and other used or recycled animal products. Since I wear leather shoes, I repair or replace my soles instead of purchasing new shoes. And I’ve worn shoes up to a decade or more.

However, when an idealistic vegan sees me wearing leather shoes, they have no idea that I’ve replaced the soles twice on those shoes and got those shoes at a thrift store. They have no idea how much I spend on food either. While, it is a good practice to discern and educate ourselves about where our food and other goods come from and how it was raised, treated, or produced, we’re never going to show up perfectly in our quests. We have many things to weigh. For instance, vegans say that it is better for the environment to go vegan, but not if you are wearing clothing and shoes made from petrochemicals which also cause damage to the environment.

Now, as far as health benefits, I have seen many vegans glow with radiant health after changing their diets. I have met people who have reversed diabetes, prevented heart disease and other illnesses. I have also met people who have suffered from digestion issues on the vegan diet (I’m among this group). If I eat goat yogurt once in a while, it reverses some of the digestion issues and then I eat a mostly vegan diet.

So, having said all that, the vegan diet has potential to improve health and well-being, create more sustainable lifestyles that benefit the planet, stop animal abuse and cruelty (although it takes some socio-political action too), provide food in greater abundance, create culinary opportunities for businesses, heal cognitive dissonance, etc…

Get educated. Find out where your food comes from. Stop living in denial. And then find the best path for you based on your core values and beliefs. Walk your talk to the best of your ability. And make improvements in increments.

From Lincoln Logs to Social Media (50th Year Anniversary)

Photo taken in my 20s

(This article was originally posted on my blog PNW Author. The essay is now 3 years old.) When I find myself starting a conversation with, “Back when we used typewriters…” I feel old.  I come from a generation who started out playing with Lincoln logs, Easy-Bake ovens and whose mothers made Shake & Bake chicken for dinner, that is, if we weren’t stuck with Hamburger Helper (yuck) or tuna casserole.

We watched reruns of “Bewitch” and then later graduated to “Charlie’s Angels” as preteens.  But turning 50 goes beyond pop culture icons or midlife crisis myths.  I don’t know many men my age wearing toupees or racing around in red sports cars.  The word out on the street is “50 is the new 30” and with the help of supplements, natural hair tints and a healthy vegan or raw foods diet, it’s possible to look 35 at 50.  The old cliche goes, if I had a dime for every time someone exclaimed, “You don’t look 49 or 50,” I could retire and live comfortably on the money by age 55.

You won’t find me wearing spinster’s black or lamenting that I wasted the first 50 years of my life.  People might ask, “Where’s the husband or how old are your children?” and I can only respond with a shrug. I had other things to do and other worlds to conquer, including dealing with a myriad of inner gremlins and a long bout with depression, in which the only way to emerge was to develop self-love.  My greatest accomplishment isn’t ten years as a professional musician, producing a compilation of Seattle bands that receives acclaim two decades later, or the completion of four novels and 4 screenplays.  No, my greatest accomplishment thus far is to love myself.

When we glance back at the origins of that journey we either cringe or experience goosebumps.  I recall two episodes of self-loathing at this time.  The first incident involved an art professor who took slides of each student and asked us to draw a self-portrait.  Easy enough, right? I experienced trauma doing this and I cried while I stared at my face enlarged.  I focused on faults and chastised myself for not resembling the super models in magazines or the movie stars on the big screen. What a painful experience! I despised the art professor during those moments and also when he showed the slide to the other art students, who thankfully were too busy critiquing their own faces, to critique mine.

Another incident happened in therapy.  A psychoanalyst told me to talk to an empty chair with my jacket draped around it, a conversation with myself.  I cried and resisted this exercise.  I felt so horrified having a dialogue with the part of me that constantly hurt.  After all, if I had landed in therapy then there was definitely something wrong with me and wonder if I couldn’t fix it.  This happened in my late 20s.  And during my late 20s, I spent my nights exorcising my inner gremlins on stage as a musical performer or a poet.  Sylvia Plath was my idol during those  years, if you can imagine.

I didn’t breeze through my 30s, but I grew in wisdom as I read every popular self-help book, enrolled in self-development workshops and wondered why the Dark Night of the Soul wouldn’t just disappear. In my imagination I walked El Camino with Paul Coelho, went on medicine women journeys with Lynn V. Andrews, and learned to talk with animal spirits.  I discovered shamanic journey work, but none of this work led me to developing self-love which goes along with self-empowerment.

I celebrated my 40th birthday in a public venue by hosting a poetry and music event dedicated to compassion and kindness.  Gathering with other artists gave me a boost and set me forth on the next part of my journey.  In my 40s, I relocated twice, returned to college at the age of 45 to learn new computer technology, I landed a contract job with a newspaper and then lost the job 14 months later.  But most important in the past five years, I confronted the frightened woman inside me and learned how to love her back to health.  And I’m not alone in this.  I hear women my age saying the same thing when they phone into spiritual radio shows or join live streams.  Our crisis doesn’t involve dumping the husband in favor of the college co-ed (no Mrs, Robinson here), but our crisis does involve questioning our liberation in a world that wishes to brainwash and enslave us.

Things I learned in the past year include, drinking an unsweetened smoothie is healthier than drinking fruit juice, that yoga, breathing and meditation takes years off, and that we don’t require to go gray like our baby boomer elders and can use natural hair tints that won’t give us brain tumors.  If we choose, we can unplug, and engage on a journey to self-discovery.  We can dress anyway we choose, even buying clothes in the young adult section or wearing natural fibers.  We can opt out of fake patriotism and stop playing games to fit in with a mad society.  With new supplements on the market to build collagen, we can avoid Botox or face lifts.  Finally, we have worldwide access to women our age so we can compare notes and share wisdom.

Why do we focus so heavily on physical appearance? Is this part of self-love or self-loathing? I know that kindness to ourselves means that we stop finding fault with our bodies as they age.  I know that it’s frightening to watch people age around me.  I know that I feel tempted to turn back the clock one or two decades, and if only I could bring the ones I lost back into the fold.

age 50
age 50

I’m fortunate to sit here typing this post on my 50th birthday.  I know at least two friends who never experienced this milestone.  The first friend died before her 18th birthday when she was injured in a car accident, two weeks prior to high school graduation.  The second friend died at 34 from heart failure, 2 weeks before her 35th birthday.  So on this rainy Sunday, I won’t lament the passing of years.  I’m darn lucky to have survived and I give myself permission to thrive this second half of my life.  And for all of you turning 50 this year, many happy returns.

Did you know that life actually begins at 50?

 

 

Story–for the Day of the Dead

Since we are approaching Halloween, All Souls Day and The Day of the Dead, I’m posting work that I wrote when I was with the Latino literary troupe, Los Nortenos (2000-05). I wrote this piece for a performance that we gave at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle.

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Wearing the Bones of My Ancestors

Recently when I suffered a reoccurring problem with my spine, I recalled a doctor who offered to remove two extra ribs.  Of course, I declined his offer and chose to live with the pain of pinched nerves rather than remove bones from my body.  As time went on, I realized that I wear the bones of my ancestors.  These are the bones that never quite disintegrated into ashes and these are the bones that refused to burn for carrying shamanic influences.  And these bones derive from my mixed ancestry, which includes Philippine, Puerto Rican, Spanish, Finnish and Sami blood.

Long, long time ago, there lived a primitive people called the Finns, first discovered by the Romans around 10 AD in the region we now call Finland.  The Finns, now called Sami were pushed closer to the Arctic Circle as other tribes moved into the area, but for the most part, the Sami practiced their earth-based spirituality, including sorcery.  However when the Christians arrived, the church banned the earth-based spirituality, burning the shamans and their drums.  The magic never left us and the ancestors have returned.

In the past few years, I discovered my shamanic gifts.  I began hearing the call of the trees, animals and stones.  I had no idea why the nature spirits were calling to me, but I kept an open mind and heart.  Soon, an ancestor reconnected me with my Sami lineage, despite the fact that I grew up in middle-class America and was unaware of my Sami ancestors.

After awhile I began working with stones and I was told that the Sami people also work with stones.  I began connecting with animal and other spirits through chants.  Then I learned that the Sami people had been doing that from the onset and they call their chants yoiks.  Often they say that the spirit of the yoik finds the yoiker.  And eventually, the spirit that resides in my bones taught me this magical form of vocalization.

The Sami believe that their real home exists beyond the stars.  I don’t see this as heaven, but as a parallel dimension where our ancestors reside.  All my life I have been staring up at the stars wondering what exists behind their twinkling lights.  And all my life I have collected stones that for some mysterious reason called out to me.  I have felt like an outsider looking in among my relatives, friends and strangers as that part of me chose to live in an enchanted world.  I never could understand the stranger that exists in my bones until now and she is Sami, but she also answers to Spain, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Finland.  She is the call of the crow, the howl of the wolf, the silence of the jaguar and the whisper of stones.

Some day my bones will turn back into soil, but my spirit will never die for it knows that death is but an illusion and life is just a dream.

written for the Day of the Dead 2003. Copyright Patricia Herlevi, All Rights Reserved

 

Glittering Guns–Violence & Adrenaline High in the US

DSCN2331During late September of 1986, I arrived at a theater class in Saint Catharines, Ontario. I wore a fringe leather jacket and ripped Levis. Since I had boarded the wrong bus, I arrived a half-hour late for class. I felt self-conscious arriving at my first class in a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone. And the first thing the students said after the professor announced that I was an American exchange student was, “Where is your gun?”

True enough, the US has had (as long as I’ve been alive) an obsession with guns and violence. And the Canadian students who questioned me preferred watching the news out of Buffalo, New York as opposed to Toronto because it was more exciting with the latest shooting or other crimes south of the border. I just felt embarrassed by the violence in the news and I avoided watching the news from either country.

Fast forward to the summer of 1991 when I was in London hanging out with musicians in a club. Again, the topic of American guns and violence came up with the Londoners grilling me about the topic. They asked if all Americans had guns when they knew well that we did not all have guns. And many English people preferred American TV shows (cops and criminals) to their own television shows.

I remember going to a jam session in London where the two musicians watched episodes of Starsky and Hutch while I sat in the background trying to write a melody to a song they gave me on tape. True, I had grown up watching cop shows but by the time I was performing music, I had stopped watching violent shows because I had lost interests in them in favor of spiritual pursuits.

And today, as another tragedy involving guns appears in the US media (with replays to induce adrenaline rushes in viewers), I question why more Americans aren’t researching post-trauma and how this condition is the cause root of violent crimes, addictions, etc along with the poisons we call food, the electric magnetic energy we expose ourselves to constantly, heavy metals in vaccines, and so on.

And the answer that comes to me is that violence in the news sells too. It sells big pharma drugs; it sells insurance. It sells products to make us feel numb or high so we don’t have to face the real demon which is our own shadow. People say they want peace and then they sit in front of a computer or TV set absorbing the violence in the media. They either numb or pump up their energy with the substance of their choice while few people are dealing with their triggers for post-trauma. And don’t we all suffer from this condition by now? Why aren’t we taking PTSD more seriously?

Because if we did take it more seriously, we would not send more soldiers to war. We would banish violence from movies and TV shows. We would research the real effects of GMO foods, air pollution, electromagnetic energy, and come clean with experiments done on the human race by HAARP, Monsanto, big pharma, etc…We’re smart enough to do this but where is the will to come clean? When will we dig our heads out of denial and admit that our hearts have been shattered and require mending?

I tell you now it doesn’t matter how many yoga poses you learn at a retreat or the number of hours you find yourself in meditation. You can sing mantras for weeks on end and say your affirmations in front of a mirror each morning, but until we deal with the trauma that lies at the root of each of us and as a collective, we will not experience world peace–I guarantee it.

I thought I only needed to take a spiritual approach to everything and ascend over this madness in the world until I realized that I’m part of the madness. We all are. It is our egos that separates us from the perpetuators of crimes and yet these so-called criminals are projections of our own darkness even if we’re not the ones who pulled the trigger or ignited the bomb. We still played a part in our denial, our silence, and our inability to question the media, Hollywood, big pharma and every other component in our convenient lives that poison the well of humanity. And this includes our choice of words and communication styles with the people we’re supposed to love.

We can label people criminals and toss shame their way. We can toss people into prison or send them to the electric chair and that won’t heal the violence in the world. In fact, it will only perpetuate this morphogenetic field that is filled with genocide and other atrocities of our ancestors that is in each of your DNA. None of us gets off the hook. None of us are saints. And even the saints had dark ancestors if you know what I mean.

I’m not going to sit in front of a television set and trigger trauma. I refuse to watch violent images on constant replay nor will I tune into those videos on YouTube. I simply don’t want to see it. And I’m not going to punish myself with violent images. I don’t get high on that sort of thing even if others, less conscious do.

For my own country, I recommend free therapy for every individual living in the US that focuses on healing trauma in whatever form it shows up. I recommend more funding go towards neurological and brain research, including alternative modalities that heal neuropathways in the brain. I recommend ending all wars today and to stop sending people to countries to protect poppy fields (heroin) or oil or other addictive substances. And I recommend we get real with ourselves and each other and stop pretending like we don’t know what’s going on.

I’ve spoken with people on the bus from various walks of life and from various educational backgrounds (people with little education to people with post-doctorate degrees), and people know what’s going on in the world. But all this talk isn’t solving the problem even if some bonding occurs, even from the heart to heart.

So, today, I want you to take a deep breath and get centered. Then ask yourself how you contribute to both violence and peace on the planet. Then come up with a next step to heal your part of it. I’ll do the same. Thank you.

Essay for Woman Sleeping in an Attic

DSCN9920Procrastination is not my friend. Yet, the only work I have done on my second memoir that reflects on living in between homes (several times), comes out as essays. So, why not just write a series of blog essays and then transform them into a book later? 

And lately, memories of the first time I left Bellingham during the summer of 1986 mingles with the second time I left Bellingham three weeks ago. The first time, I left I felt hopeful as I packed up my Datsun and headed to Seattle to break into the music business. The second time, I loaded up a U-Haul truck and I only felt dread as I hauled my meager belongings to a storage unit just outside of Port Townsend. And then settled into my family’s home (not in Port Townsend).

When I was 22-years-old, I considered myself hopeful but still one of the walking wounded latch-key kids trying to make sense of my life. I had my entire life to map out and I mapped it out. I had plans for every area of my life and I had a schedule to keep. When I was in my twenties, I paid no attention to people over 30 and I certainly never expected to reach my menopause years or my fifties.

Like every young adult pursuing a career in the arts, I expected to live in a bohemian-style for several years until I got my big break. Only the bohemian lifestyle continued without the big break and the older I got I just seemed like a loser. I did not achieve what I expected to achieve. I did not marry or live in a formidable home. In fact, many times I found myself without a home at all.

I didn’t do everything right but I also didn’t do anything truly wrong. I made some bad choices, but I never took up the worst kind of habits. And yet, who was I to think that I wasn’t as wounded or dysfunctional as the alcoholics and addicts living down the hall from me in Seattle’s apartment buildings? The good news for the addict is that they get help a lot earlier as their addictions humbled them. While I stayed longer in denial and even acted smugly towards addicts or people suffering from mental illnesses.

And as many addicts I knew got their lives together and experienced redemption, my life kept spiraling downward despite the number of spiritual workshops I took or self-help books I absorbed into my subconscious mind. I experienced many ah-hah moments but I never experienced salvation. I had many people warn me about my defences but my ego shut them out. I thought despite the outward signs of my life crumbling into oblivion that I had it together or I would at least fake it until I made it.

So, as our U-Haul truck made its way to a storage unit in the middle of a cow pasture, I wondered with despair how I ended up in this transition. And my eyes opened wider when I met women from my childhood also going through transition. And then on FaceBook, a few of my friends also find themselves relocating to other parts of the country, getting divorced, or going through a complete overhaul of their lives.

And the Marvin Gaye’s words, “What’s Going On” swim in my thoughts as do water moccasins swim through the flood waters in the southern United States. And the land shifts in Mexico and enormous winds and rain plummel the Caribbean islands. Indeed, I ask why are their so many displaced people? And I think for many, this represents a humbling experience that breaks open our hearts.

In one of my channel sessions, my guides told me that at this time the weak are made strong and the strong are made weak. We are here to learn from each other. Those who suffered before us learned survival skills and now share those with us. We will emerge from coping to thriving. And my wish for everyone is to survive the transition that will lead us to the promised land.

 

Write It–Memoir: Revenge versus Telling a Higher Truth

Queen Anne tub, 1995
Photo from 1995: Taken by Liz Herlevi

I never thought I would write a memoir. For the most part, I find reading memoirs tedious as writers tend to include too many details and tell their story in a linear way. Many memoirists also seem to have barbs attached to their pens.

The reason why Eat, Pray, Love enjoyed success wasn’t because Liz Gilbert struck out to get revenge on her former husband or the lifestyle she was supposed to embrace. The memoir received worldwide attention because the author stripped herself bare while allowing raw, yet universal emotions to splatter on to the pages of her book. Gilbert also chose a non-linear structure for her memoir, even though her travelogue traveled from Italy, then India, and finally, Bali. Gilbert also tells her story in a self-effacing, humorous, and relatable voice–at least familiar to middle-class American women of a certain age.

But when I was wading through manuscripts on the defunct Authonomy website years ago, most of the memorists made several mistakes in my opinion. They used too many passive verbs, they regurgitated their lifestory instead of focusing on a slice of life, and they chose macabre topics without providing some brighter moments or comic relief. Some authors would have been better off hiring a ghost writer since their writing skills were rudimentary or told in a second language. And yet, an author learns a lot by critiquing other people’s work while also reading the top memoirs on the charts.

The main question for me revolves around baring one’s soul. How many sensitive topics or secrets do I reveal in my work? And am I revealing these secrets to tell a universal story or am I seeking revenge on a subconscious level? It helps to spend time in therapy while writing material with suffering rooted in childhood situations, as is the case with my memoir, Woman Sleeping on a Couch. And the good news is that the writing process proved cathartic and I did bring up these deeper issues during therapy sessions. But I still ask myself if my story is universal or just too painful to share with others?

Determine whether or not you’re shooting from the hip or if sharing your story has the power to heal others.

  • Will telling your story divide a family or cause a rift with relatives?
  • Will your story withstand the scrutiny of critics (both professional and personal)?
  • Can you write your story in an entertaining manner where you laugh at yourself and reveal your vulnerabilities (shadows and projections)?
  • Do you take responsibility for your end of the story or act like a victim?
  • Do you discern the difference between events that serve the story and events that serve the ego?
  • Will telling your story land you in legal hot water or liberate you?
  • Does your story share an arc with fiction? Do you have a strong beginning, middle and resolution or is your story open-ended?

Writing memoirs rubs the conscious raw. Writing memoirs strips the soul bare. And not everyone wants to read about people’s personal history unless it strikes a common thread. And the most popular memoirs revolve around travel, food, love/romance, and animals. If you take a more universal approach by anchoring your story in one of those themes, you have a greater chance of hitting the literary jackpot.

My sister and I used to have a conversation where she believed that everyone has an interesting story to tell. But face it, not everyone is a storyteller. And while it’s enjoyable to sit with friends, colleauges, and family members as they spin nostalgic and revealing yarns, a memoir stretches those yarns to 300 pages, which causes some yarns to snap and break.

However, if a story has a strong beginning, middle, and end with an overarching universal theme, then it is worth telling. Just be willing to rewite the “truth” through several drafts. And then depending on the material in the story, muster the courage to weather any storms that come from secrets and situations contained in the memoir. Once we let the worms out of the can, it’s too late to put a lid on it.

I’m an author and astrologer who provides coaching for creative professionals. Go to Whole Astrology to sign up for a session.