My Strategy

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Blackfish

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OK, so I have been reading a ton about how to write my memoir as I am writing my memoir!

As it turns out there are many, many ways of getting this job done. So many ways, so little time.

For the time being, I am doing it the old Greek way, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

My strategy simple. Simple is always best, of course. I mean, I know I have to write a lot of little stories that will be in the work, so it only made sense for me to get to it and get the little stories written.

Now, out of all these little stories and putting them together, things are starting to take shape.

And that is basically how I am playing it to date. Just a lot of little stories getting written. Sometimes it's like writing a lot of essays, not really stories. Sometimes it's like writing a lot of stories, not essays.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Getting all these little stories written is definitely not easy. Especially for an insufferable old bastard, like me. I never quit. I never stop. I never let up. I never let go. I edit until I am blue in the face. I am a writing machine.

Some of the stories take place at the beginning, at the other end of my life, some take place in the middle, and some take place here, now, at this end of my life.

I read things that trigger a memory, the memory is fresh and it prompts me to write the story. Some stories turn out to be great and with a good point. Some stories turn out to be a really bad idea and the whole day spent writing it seems like a waste.

But I think things are done this way because there is no other way. Some people are really smart and really talented and don't have to try very hard. Some people are like me, only middle-of-the-road smart and talented, and have to try like hellfire.

This is writing. This is what it's all about. This is all. This is the Joy and the Misery of it all.

My time? It is worthless. I means nothing. Even if I were to come up with a manuscript that made me a million dollars overnight, it would not mean anything to me. It would not compensate me for the love and devotion I am putting into this, my writing. So, it's not about the money or any other kind of reward to get later on down the road. The reward is here, now, in the doing of it.

And, for now, that's my trick, that's my strategy... to get my butt in this chair each day and get the job done. To get all the little stories that will make up one big story and get it ready for someone else to read. And for me to go on...

Writing.
 

Helix

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I've always found that actually writing the book is more productive than writing about thinking about how I would set about writing the book -- even if it is less enjoyable at times.
 

khobar

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OK, so I have been reading a ton about how to write my memoir as I am writing my memoir!

As it turns out there are many, many ways of getting this job done.

Do you have the theme for your memoir?

As for it being easy for some, just remember you are seeing their "highlight" reel. ;)
 

Blackfish

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Memoir Theme

Do you have the theme for your memoir?

As for it being easy for some, just remember you are seeing their "highlight" reel. ;)

My working theme, for the moment is Misery, Miserable, Miserables -- something along those lines. Lots of conflict, fire, rubble, wreckage, rage, down and dirty.

But then there's triumph and growth and learning, too. So, it's not just about coming from hell and living it, but trying to learn how to grow out of it, to turn things around. And there's a happy ending, of course.

Life and I have always looked at each other with the same fondness with which a brick looks at a beautiful stained glass window.
 

khobar

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My working theme, for the moment is Misery, Miserable, Miserables -- something along those lines. Lots of conflict, fire, rubble, wreckage, rage, down and dirty.

But then there's triumph and growth and learning, too. So, it's not just about coming from hell and living it, but trying to learn how to grow out of it, to turn things around. And there's a happy ending, of course.

Life and I have always looked at each other with the same fondness with which a brick looks at a beautiful stained glass window.

That's good! Now, are you going for publication and, if so, is your misery different from all the other misery that's already out there? Keep that in mind as you continue to build your theme.

Are you the brick, or are you the stained glass window?
 

Blackfish

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That's good! Now, are you going for publication and, if so, is your misery different from all the other misery that's already out there? Keep that in mind as you continue to build your theme.

Are you the brick, or are you the stained glass window?

Absolutely going for publication.

My misery is no different than all the other misery out there. Miserable people think they're special. They are not special. There is nothing special about misery. It's just that I might know how to make misery interesting.

I fancy myself both the brick and the stained glass window.
 

Blackfish

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More Than Misery

What's more, is that my story is about more than misery. Misery has played a big role in my life, yes, but it's a "positive" thing, if you will. I've turned a twist on it and made it into "positive" aspect of my life; and not only in retrospect.

Now, this is strange, of course, but prior to becoming an atheist at age 31 (I'll be 50 in December), and a rabid anti-theist over the last three years or so, I was one of what many people like to call a "Seeker". I wanted all the wisdom of the world. I was a deeply "spiritual" person and a "philosopher", so to speak.

But since all of that has happened, I see no reason to stop seeking wisdom.

And all that, in a much larger part, is what the story is really all about. Religion (though I was never really religious), god and all that stuff helped to make me miserable. People always tell you that stuff brings you and the rest of the world to "peace". Far from it. It brings the world nothing but misery, as can easily be demonstrated. The thought of not believing in this stuff never really occured to me however. And when it did, I was adamantly against it. I could not understand how someone could not believe in god. But when I finally came to a proper conclusion on the matter, I found myself happier, lighter, freer, smarter, better, "enlightened" even.

So, it's not just that I was miserable. My story is not a cry for help, oh, poor little me got kicked around some, feel sympathy and empathy for victims, feel sympathy for me, I was abused, and now life is all roses and bunnies and peaches and cream and rainbows and unicorns. It isn't. That sort of approach is really nothing more elegant than bullying others. It's thuggery. People who speak this kind of language are trying to intimidate others. They are saying, "I dare you to say anything bad about we poor little victims! I dare you to get in our way! I dare you to say no to us! How dare you try to make a miserable person better!" Some people would have no livelihood at all if it were not for the fact that other people were miserable and in doubt about themselves and their condition and the world around them. It is such people I raise a warning flag to the world about. Watch out for them. They are charlatans.

There is nothing wrong with being a charlatan of course, but so long as you choose to be an honest charlatan, you and I will have no conflict of interest.

I had been a seeker for all of my life. Much to my surprise, and delight, I found what I was looking for. Of course, it was never what I thought it was going to be. Quite the opposite in fact. It is my wish to report on these findings and facts.
 
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Blackfish

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Writing Is Like Shoveling Shit

My writing went notoriously bad today. I barely got started on anything. I get bogged down and I get disappointed and don’t want to get started. Writing this memoir is like shoveling a ton of shit. It reminds me of when I was twelve and we had first moved out to my parent’s hobby farm.

The main barn was originally built for milking cows and it hadn’t been cleaned in a very long time. The manure inside main floor and inside the stalls was so deep that the shoulders of a huge bull that inhabited it when we looked at the place for the first time were nearly touching the ceiling joists. The day we moved in all the boys were assigned to shovel all that manure out of the barn and into the barnyard. It was an absolute nightmare.

There I was, a pre-teen, fresh from the suburbs, had never handled a shovel or a pitchfork before in my life, literally thigh-deep in bull’s shit. I had never handled a wheelbarrow before in my life either, and I dumped a few loads prematurely on the way out to the barnyard. Had to shovel it all back into the wheelbarrow and hope I make the next trip.

It was the nastiest thing I had ever done in my life. The smell was unbearable. The weight of the manure and the piss-soaked straw was unbearable. There were a few times I thought I was going to be sick. There were a few times I thought my back was going to break. it was inhuman. I thought there would be no end to it. Later that day, when we were finally finished, I was so happy. I could not believe we did it!

That’s how I feel writing this memoir. The workload is unbearable, mind-boggling. I'm inexperienced. I don't know how to use all the tools. I will be amazed when I finally get it done.

My official strategy right now is simply to keep shoveling shit until the job is done.
 
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