UPDATE: just wanted to add in here that a new review is up for Doll God. Reviewer Gautami says “A few poems also comment on the scientific reality of life, yet the metaphysical and spirituality is never far away.” I love that she noticed that as that is never far from my mind when I write a poem.
Thanks to Sherrey Meyer, who blogs here for inviting me to participate in the Work-in-Progress blog tour. Sherrey is writing a memoir based on a dysfunctional and abusive mother-daughter relationship. The twist is that, when Sherrey was 57, she discovered that her Southern matriarch mother needed to escape abuse herself.
Sherrey has completed a first draft of the memoir and is eager to begin a rewrite. Sherrey is widely published in various anthologies. She credits her love of words (and her editing knowhow) to her publisher father.
Thank you so much, Sherrey, for thinking of me and my memoir. It helps me get focused back on this intense writing project. You’re an inspiration with your dedication to the craft!
Synopsis of my book:
Secrets create a painful wound at the heart of a family. Dangerous emotions, such as anger, fear, guilt, shame and curiosity, grow from this wound.
Memory must be excavated scrap by scrap, salvaged, and pieced together to create a new story of origins and identity. With the building of the story, the wound begins to heal, and the resulting emotions dissipate.
Thus it is with my family. My book is the story of an old family secret that infects the present and creates a dysfunctional father-daughter relationship–and the quest for answers that allows the father and daughter to learn and forgive.
Status of my book:
Although I wasn’t ready to finish my first draft, I had to pull something together for the final step to completing a certificate in Creative Nonfiction Writing at Stanford University. This step is a tutorial where I am working under the guidance of Julia Scheeres, author of Jesus Land and A Thousand Lives. She has now read my manuscript and given me revision suggestions, which I am working with. Things have been so hectic with the publication of Doll God and my father’s illness (not to mention that traffic blockage I wrote about last week!) that I don’t get much time to write.
Here are brief excerpts from my first three chapters of Scrap:
Dad popped his gray-streaked head into my open doorway on his way to the kitchen. Not much bigger than I, he seemed to fill the space. “Get dressed for ballet class!” His voice was a brief bark.
Chapter One: Frank Talk
The drive south from our home in Phoenix exposed the flat desolation of the region. The only sights were the occasional saguaro and the roadside ostrich farm where travelers can stop and feed the animals. Since ostriches have a reputation for being downright mean, we had never stopped there on trips to my parents’ winter condo in Green Valley, twenty-five miles past Tucson. I’d brought up the idea once. My husband of over three decades said, “Sure, I want to get snapped at by a big bird and then by your father. I don’t think so.”
Chapter Two: Nuclear Fallout
2008: the year before
“Doesn’t look like much,” Mom said, as we pulled into the parking lot of the Titan Missile Museum.
The main building was low to the ground. A few small buildings, which looked like garages or tool sheds, and large equipment were scattered throughout the fenced property.
If I hadn’t known where we were, I would have thought it looked like a work site with a few trucks and what seemed to be oil tanks, not a nuclear missile site.
The work-in-progress blog tour rules:
Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.
Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress. Sherrey gave more than the first sentences, and I like that idea, too.
Nominate some other writers to do the same.
Tag. You’re it!
I was thrilled that these writers have agreed to take part in this work-in-progress blog tour. Please stop by their sites and get to know them and their work.
RENEE at Unpacked Writer teaches college writing. She has published creative nonfiction and won awards for her writing and is writing a book about her adventures as a young special education teacher in a small and remote Alaskan village. Renee describes herself this way:
My interests might find me behind a camera, an acetylene torch, spending a day with a legislator, at the farmers market, or with my nose in a guidebook mapping an adventure. Usually, I’m responding to thoughtful student writings and preparing ways to get students to think about writing.
Most days find this mid-life mother of teenagers, behind the wheel of the mommy-taxi, revising writings, volunteering in the community, figuring out how to prepare a healthy meal everyone can or will eat, or shooing our urban chickens from our kitchen door.
I am a mother, writer, traveler, wife, thyroid cancer survivor and writing instructor.
During the work week, MARIE is a public health data analyst. After hours, she is a writer, compiling a nice tall stack of first drafts that she rather dreads having to sort through.
Marie started writing when she was about 9 years old, but she was never very confident (if at all) about her writing talent, and it was easy for her to “give up” periodically, in spite of the support she got from mentors and fellow writers. Once she got a “real” job (cue public health), it was hard to argue with anyone that she should or could expect to do better by writing. She’s made a lot of detours on her path to happiness, but finally she’s woken up to the fact that she’d rather be writing than anything else (ideally, in her pjs with a pot of hot tea for fuel).
Through her blog, www.1writeway.com, Marie has discovered a truly wonderful community in blogging, one that has been so supportive that she no longer hesitates to say, “I am a writer.”
A born and bred Brit, SHERRI lived in California for 17 years before returning to the UK with her three children in 2003. She began her writing career a few years ago while caring for her Aspie daughter. Since then, she has been published in magazines, anthologies and company websites and launched her blog, A View From My Summerhouse. Today, she lives with her husband, daughter and two cats in the West Country of England where she keeps out of trouble writing her book (a memoir), walking, gardening and taking endless photographs. Her muse, a garden robin, visits regularly.