Almost seven years ago, I started working on a memoir, and now it’s one month away from publication. Some people liken the publication process to pregnancy and delivery but I cannot, because this book does not feel like a fetus. After all this time, I am without analogies. I have gone through the process of putting my lived experiences on the page, crafting them into something not quite like my actual memory, and revising the hell out of the work until the character on the page and the sentences that formed her were like a lace spread over my memory. This book is about my life, but it’s not my life. This narrator came from me, but she’s not the same as me.
That’s not to say that I put any untruths in the book. It’s all true, to the best of my knowledge, with a few minute details and many names changed out of consideration for people I needed to include but did not want to identify. My truths are unpleasant ones.
I realized today that, because of my busy schedule over the next month, the next time I see many of my friends, my book will be available. I am less afraid than ever about people’s reactions to my story of bipolar disorder, sexual assault, promiscuity, binge drinking, and other things I don’t usually bring up in casual conversation. When I was younger, still smarting with the pain of newly inflicted traumas, and unsure of how to process my feelings, I would blurt out private pains to anyone who might listen--whether close friends or first-time Match.com dates. Later, I became so guarded I felt uncomfortable divulging the subject of my book to inquisitive acquaintances, because I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable. Now, I'm figuring it all out and feeling good. I don’t know what it will feel like to know that my past is broadly known, though I’m the one who has made it known, unlike the spread of gossip in college.
For the next month, I will be teaching, eating the best things, working on my pull-ups and squats, and not overtaxing my brain, if I can help it. I’ll see you on the other side.
My Body Is a Book of Rules will be available on August 12, 2014. It is now available for pre-order.
The book launch party at Richard Hugo House on August 14 will be free and open to the public. For details and a full events calendar, visit the upcoming events page.