If you follow me on other social media, you may be aware that I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, with the aim to produce roughly 40,000 words of poetry and memoir.
I started out planning to just put together a volume of poetry and essays, but one of the essays spiralled and expanded, and now I appear to be writing a memoir, which is a big departure from my previous writing. I’ve done some research and talked to other writers, and I have sort of mapped my course, based on their advice: I’m going to write down everything I remember—the piece will cover my feelings about my father from two years before he died to about a decade later.
A lot of this is stuff I’ve probably needed to write about for a long time. I’ve been trying to sit in my feelings when they come up, all the nostalgia and tears, and allow myself to feel them and remember. I don’t like crying (as a result of how much I did for years after he passed), so this has been a challenge, but it’s one worth taking on, if only for the potential closure.
Once I’ve gotten all my thoughts and recollections out, I’m going to read through all of my poetry and journal entries from that time, and then I’m going to interview my mother, other family members, and family friends who were adults when I was a child to see where my account differs from theirs, and either confirm or disprove some of my thoughts. Again, these are conversation I’ve probably been needing to have for a long time, and I’m making the opportunity to do it now.
Hopefully, I’ll come out of the month with at least 40,000 words written, and the beginnings of a publishable piece on childhood grief and its effects on adulthood, as experienced by me. If you’re interested in daily word count updates, you can follow those on my Twitter, and I’ll be sharing some resources and interesting info on my Tumblr. Comment if you’re participating—I’d love to hear what others are working on!