Last summer, my dad suggested that we write a memoir together about my childhood aboard our sailboat, Gaucho. We each would be responsible for alternating chapters. I loved the idea!
But then reality set in.
My whole life has been about writing fiction. As a kid, I never kept a diary unless my dad asked me to, and those were just chronicles of activities. I never poured my heart onto the page, except in the occasional angsty poem. Inventing a story is much easier for me than telling the truth.
So I read how-to books on memoir writing. I poured over other people’s memoirs. I read source materials—my parents’ journals, my old letter, my old stories and poems. I developed themes, character arcs, lists of heart-clutching moments, and chapter topics. Basically, I procrastinated as much as humanly possible. Still, the day finally came to begin writing.
I was as nervous as a cat outside on a windy day. I had to jump up and pace every few minutes. But years of butt-in-chair, fingers on the keyboard practice helped. By the end of the afternoon, I had a first chapter.
That evening I read my horoscope in the local paper:
Stepping into thin air, you may find solid ground beneath your feet.
Stepping into thin air… That’s exactly how it felt to write the first words of my memoir. It was the perfect Taos woo woo day.