Another month or so from now I plan on going back to working on my next book, a monumental task that I feel compelled to write about. I began writing this book about a year before my husband passed. I didn’t know then I was writing a book, but it turns out I was.
I began writing a conversational documentary on moments and conversations that would come up sporadically between me and my husband. I found some haunting, some humorous, but also, some that left me questioning. I kept adding to the conversations and thoughts almost nightly – late at nightly. I didn’t know why I felt compelled to write my questions and feelings about random things between us, I just did. I also didn’t know my husband was dying when I began writing these observations. Almost like a diary of poignant moments and thoughts. By the time my husband’s death was impending, I knew my reason for beginning these writings. I needed to talk about him, to him. I wanted to keep track of our poignant discussions. I needed to share his wit and wisdom. I needed to shine a light on a magnificent man and moments with him so that others could know him too. And most of all, although this is my life, this book will definitely be food for thought for those who will read it. My husband was funny, loving and wise – but mostly, remarkable.
The book I want to write is in a very rough draft of disarray of almost 100,000 words in dire need of revising. I honestly haven’t even began to look at the writing, I merely keep adding to the doc whenever an important memory pops up. I began with three different Word documents with these working titles – Observations and Conversations, Obituary, and Poetry. Not even looking at the pages yet as just thinking about, it gives me shivers to reread. I will have to print out the many pages and lay them on the floor as a mosaic, piecing things in order, to begin the rewriting, adding, substracting, and editing. I have many a working title listed, and hoping this will be my best book, and undeniably, the most difficult to write (with P.S. I Forgive You as a distant second as a heart-wrenching book to write) as I reread and rewrite, many times over. I also plan to write the book in epistolary writing style. See my featured article as guest writer at Wendy Van Camp’s blog, No Wasted Ink, on epistolary writing.
Writing Our LIfe
When I began writing books, my husband was so proud of me. He used to ask me if I would write a book about him. I asked, what exactly would he like me to write about? I also told him I’m not a ghostwriter, I’m a memoir writer. We laughed. Well, I suppose the joke is on me because it appears that I am now that ghostwriter in the literal sense – writing about the life between me and my beautiful husband, now a ghostly spirit as I remain the one who holds the love for both of us – on this planet.
Below is an example of how I’d like to convey my stories in epistolary style. Using my husband’s asking me if I’d write a book about him as a sample of how I’d write it below:
You asked, “Cubby, will you write a book about me?” I chuckled and asked you, as my eyes caught that sweet boyish grin of yours, what exactly is it you want me to write about? As though there weren’t a thousand and one things I could write about you. You laughed and said you had lots of good and funny stories to share. And certainly you did. But I backed off, telling you I wasn’t a ghostwriter, and memoirs are personal stories belonging to the writer. Remember? I’m a memoir writer. But the universe gets the last laugh on that one. In my life, I never thought I’d ever be writing about grief stories. And especially -that all those stories would be featuring YOU.
Me, the person who would or could not ever for one moment, allow myself to even entertain the thought that I could possibly one day be left, living without you. I’d never let my brain entertain one second of a thought of a life without you, especially with my strong believe in manifestation about – you get what you focus on. And being without you was just something I would never let cross my mind. But here I am, writing about you, sharing both my joy and grief, and questions. So many questions.
Below, you will find more in this article from Writer Mag on what epistolary writing is: