Friday, January 3, 2014

The Making of a Memoir

I knew I was going to write my memoir. And then I didn't -- and then I did again. In October of 2009, Team McManus was a guest on the Jordan Rich Show after running the 2009 Boston Marathon. Appearing with us on the radio was Tori McClure author of A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean. Jordan asked her why she waited so long to write her memoir after she had accomplished the feat of being the first woman to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat. She said that she needed time to gain perspective and insight into her journey.

It's been over four years since I crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I have traveled many miles since April 20, 2009. As I say in my memoir, every finish line is a starting line.

I had one memoir written with the title, "Why Do Squats Make Me Cry?" It was cathartic for me to write the memoir but it was not the memoir that was meant to be published. For one thing, our hard drive was wiped out and along with it - my memoir.

It's been a labor of love for the past year as I began to piece together the fragments of journals, memories and blogs and the tapestry of my life as I picked up the pieces from my life shattered by paralytic polio and trauma.

Almost a year and 260 pages later, my memoir is in the final edit phase. I have three readers who will offer me feedback but I feel a sense of completion and wholeness with my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility."

As I took out my red pen and went through the process of making edits, I put myself in my reader's shoes. Is this too graphic? Is this necessary to drive the story? Is this repetitive? Am I getting boring? I read through the eyes of the different people who I hope will read my memoir and made sure that it would have a wide appeal.

I once asked my dad, what is the purpose of life? Why are we here? He said he certainly didn't have the answer but he believed that if we touched the life of at least one person while we are here, then we have not lived in vain. It is my hope that many hearts and lives will be blessed with my message of healing, hope and possibility as expressed in my memoir due out this Spring.

No comments: