Sunday, October 14, 2007

Writing Woes

I've been trying to write down our trip experiences while they are still fresh in my mind. I really have a lot I want to remember and I want Smiley to be able to read when he's older. It also doesn’t hurt that I want to share my life changing journey with all my blogging buddies.

The big problem I'm running into is lack of time. I find that when I have something very emotionally charged to write that I really need a lot of quite time for reflection...quite time is a thing of the past around here. I hoped to get a few hours to work on it this weekend but have instead spent the last day and a half in bed with a killer migraine. For some reason spending a couple of days in a dark room trying hard not to move in-between running to the bathroom to loose what little food you managed to eat, doesn't get the creative juices flowing.

I realized today that I'm just really, really bad at writing down things like this. I still have not written either of my birth stories. I'm sure by now, 7 years later, that much of Princesses story is lost to time. I sit down with the intention to write them, or this adoption story, and I feel overwhelmed by the enormity of trying to describe something so momentous and life altering. I'm at a loss on how to convey the emotions of the story while still capturing all the details that can be so important.

When I wrote about our trip to the airport, I was trying to only describe the emotions of that moment in time. All the details were lost. I couldn't figure out how to explain my impressions of that last drive though Addis and include talking about rushing through the day or traveling for 20+ hours with monkey poop on my pants. All the little details will be important to me in a few years when the memories have faded and I think they will be important to my son.

When I try to write out all the details, the story becomes less compelling and more like a laundry list of events; all the emotion, all of the momentum gets lost. It also becomes an excessively long. I keep finding myself needing add back story and I lose sight of the current story.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm a tad to critical of my own writing. I know that this is not for publication, that I'm really writing this for myself and my son. It doesn't have to be perfect. But when I read bloggers who's words seem to jump of the screen, who can weave a story that is both enriching and compelling (even if it's only about laundry) then I fear that I may never be able to do justice to such a important time in my life and such a life changing event.


Michelle Smiles said...

It wouldn't help with the blog part but if you don't feel able to write it down, have you considered talking about it on tape? That way you have a record and you could always transcribe it into written form at a later time.

Don'tMessWithMommy said...

Love your blog and keeping up with your Ethiopia babe. Noticed you get migraines -- me too. I recently tried Botox treatments for migraine; sounds crazy, but it really worked for me, and NOTHING else had. Been on EVERY med. It's expensive and insurance doesn't cover, but it's been so worth it. You might want to ask your neurologist about it. Blessings, Christy

chou-chou said...

ugh, i'm very familiar with this kind of writer's block, and i think it has a lot to do with perfectionism (sorry!).

I want what i write to be good, no great. And I want it to be that way as soon as it comes out of my pen or keyboard.

one thing that has helped me is to write (in Anne Lamott's words) the "Shitty First Draft". Just get it down on paper - plan on it being crappy. And remind yourself that NO-ONE needs to see this version.

Then, once you've gotten it all down, no matter how poorly, you can go back and fix it.

Half the time when I do this, it comes out fine - or good enough. The rest of the SFD is always fixable.

It would be so sad to lose it all to time -- start writing!!!!

Chelley said...

Can you write in short point... then go back to it later to expand?

migraines suck!! have you ever tried this

I swear by them!!!