Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Watching My Life Flash Before My Eyes

Every book I have written, beginning with The MoonQuest, has challenged me not only creatively but emotionally. Not surprisingly, each successive book has stepped up the challenge.

My fifth book (after The Q'ntana Trilogy and The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write) is this Acts of Surrender memoir that I have been posting about off and on since I began work on it in 2009. As I have mentioned before, the book itself is an act of surrender, as I never wanted to write it. Curiously (or, perhaps not), my Muse pushed me into putting together a memoir-writing workshop and then, when it was over, stunned me with this announcement: "Now, it's your turn!"

There is little in Acts of Surrender that I haven't already revealed -- in classes, in talks, in coaching sessions or in this blog or its predecessor. Yet, there is something about revisiting all those stories at one time and shaping them into a book that pushes more buttons than I thought possible.

Writing this memoir is what I call a portal experience...the kind of experience after which life is never the same...the kind of experience that propels you into the unimaginable, into a world that, from this side of the threshold, your mind could never recognize. It's a kind of death leading to a new kind of life. So it's fitting that in crafting this book, I get to watch my life flash before me, however slowly. I get to not only revisit the triumphs and tragedies, but to relive them...to feel their emotional power again, just as, ironically, Ben must do in The Q'ntana Trilogy's final act, The SunQuest.

The buttons I referred to earlier are healing buttons. With every moment of physical or emotional distress, and there have been many, I befriend another ghost from my past and free it to move on, just as it frees me to do likewise. As I wrote in my notes to that memoir-writing workshop three years ago, in a sentence that has now found its way into Acts of Surrender, "Every day’s writing about the past brings more revelation about the present." And every day's revelations about the present propel me into a future that I cannot yet see but that I know awaits me in the turning of the next page.

UPDATE: Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir is finished, published and now available for KindleNookKobo and iBooks.

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