After deleting 50% of what I had originally written, I thought I had the workings of a good memoir. Because my writing was initially used as a coping strategy, I had data far too detailed for any normal (non scientific/medical) reader. I was a recording machine utilizing any vehicle available to me. Dates, times, places, amounts and names of medications were so precise you could have made bets on them and won. I worked with both an upstate book coach referred by a college friend and a local editor referred by an acquaintance.
Then came the query letters. With trusty Writer’s Market, 2013 upon my lap, I began the arduous task of reading through 100’s of pages of information, more than once, to distill from it a list of publishers that would accept an unsolicited manuscript (no agent), and publish books in my genre and topic area. A monstrous undertaking borne of ambition and hope. I’ve read stories (all writer’s have) about the need for persistence and a tough skin through the process. Rejection is more common than acceptance and it’s not personal we are told (although it sure doesn’t feel that way). Many who have been rejected (The Help was rejected over 60 times and Chicken Soup for the Soul upwards of 144 times) went on to become blockbuster bestsellers. The journey is difficult and exciting, putting sensitive material into the world for scrutiny and approval (is difficult), but with the odds against you the possibility of success would be that much sweeter (exciting).
Writing is only the first step. One needs the skin of a rhinoceros, the strength of Samson and the wisdom of Solomon. But writing is a call that carries with it an internal reward. One of the greatest gifts and a highlight of being intimately involved with the loss of my parents, was that it held my FULL attention. I understood the importance of slowing down and remaining in the moment. Writing is one of the mechanisms that keeps the story of my parents alive and for that, I am eternally grateful.