Where’s the triumph?

A quote I give my writing students is from Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird: “Publication is not all it’s cracked up to be, but writing is.”

Odd how easy it is to preach without experiencing the punch of reality. I got a copy of my memoir yesterday from the publisher and my first reaction was not, look at this: years of hard work brought to fruition. My first reaction–while my husband Les told me how proud I must be–was visceral. I felt sick to my stomach. What kind of egotist was I to write my little story and expect people to pay good money to read it? What kind of sadist was I to tell family secrets about people too dead to respond?

I feel better this morning. Les pointed out that it’s not my story–it’s the story of a terrible time in the south, which I happened to live through.

But I wonder? Do other writers feel this way? Does the big day arrive with a thud?

3 responses »

  1. starr sariego

    You are a wonderful story teller. Whether it be in your memoir or over a family meal. I’d like to remind you, also, that my friend, after reading the early copy you sent me, said that your story helped her understand her mom and how the time influenced women’s lives and their choices. It brought her a measure of forgiveness. So… there is a place, an important place, for your “little story”. Thanks for being so honest.

  2. I loved your book. It was the first non-fiction I have read in all my years at EEI… I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to have a real copy to hold…I love books as things, and reading on the computer was distracting.


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