I have just posted 73,000 words to a publishing house’s writing competition. I may as well have sealed myself in that super strong envelope for the yawning reader on the other end to pull apart, dissect and criticize inside and out. Because, unusually, this manuscript is about me.
The idea dawned last year, which was my year for memoir writing. (The one before that was the year of writing about farming; the one before that, Kenyans; the one before that, property.) Anyhoo, I wrote two ladies’ memoirs in 2011 and became tail-waggingly excited when I learned that there is an annual competition for such material. I could not, however, persuade either of the ladies to enter. Then I remembered that I’d written my own memoir of a sort…
Do any of you remember Australia News? It was a pre-Facebook, pre-blog, wanna-be-monthly (often quarterly) newsletter I sent to loved ones, updating them on our doings Down Under. Well that’s what I’ve submitted.
I feel as though I’m lying on a slab, naked, exposed to strangers. And I need them to love me. It’s different when it’s an article about renovating or fertilizer. It’s even different if it’s my novel. Not everybody’s going to warm to material that doesn’t do it for them. But this time the material’s me. And there’s 73,000 words of it, so the stakes are higher.
Love me: it’s shortlisted.
Love me not: it’s not.