I am almost finished One Step at a Time.
The memoir has taken its own shape, its own form. My words have given it a body, a face, a pair of hands with which to reach out and touch readers.
It is incomprehensible to me that I have written these words; that I have put my pen to paper, my fingers to the keyboard, the click clack of keys spelling out my past, present and future.
I had hoped that as I wrote, things would become easier. That it would be simple to delve into the well of what I was and where I came from. That it would be easy to lower the wooden bucket and salvage the parts of me that make up the whole of who I am.
It has not been easy.
I have learned much about myself, however. I think that it the true power of what I have written. Not only does it allow me to put those ghosts to rest (I can hear them whispering at me in my head, telling tales and distorting my vision with a kaleidoscope of images) but it allows me to know me.
It is still the hardest thing I have ever written. But it remains the most wonderful process. Taking the puzzle pieces of me and arranging them so that they form a whole.
I am no longer afraid of myself. I am no longer filled with self doubt, that great weight of the carrion bird perched on my shoulder. It has released my shoulder from it’s claw like grip and flown to someone else.
I do not wish that weight on anyone.
I was wondering what would come after One Step at a Time. Surely if this was the first step, there would be more to tell?
The memoir ends just after I meet the man who became my husband. But what of me after that? What of me beyond that point? I know that the road did not stop when I met Robert, that there were many more trails and pathways to follow.
I look at my life not as one path but as several. Internally, I am a maze. Externally, I am a roadmap of crisscrossing lines. My veins are like blue print lines, burnt into my skin. Which do I choose to follow? Which do I choose to ignore?
Even though I know how difficult writing One Step at a Time has been (I have never taken on such a mountain sized task before) am I ready to climb the other side of the mountain? Am I ready to look at myself in that light?
It would seem that I am.
I’ve submitted another book proposal to The Friday Project for another memoir, another book of blood that would follow One Step at a Time.
Now I wait with bated breath for two reasons, my breathing coming in shallow gulps and gasps.
I hold my breath for the ending of One Step at a Time because I know it is really a beginning. I know that the ending is coming and can only hope that I will know how to write it. For how does one put their emotions into words when they are not masked by the smoke and mirrors of fiction?
And the second reason?
I wait, my breath like a heartbeat inside my chest, to hear back from The Friday Project about the next book, the next part of my maze.
I wait and hope that they will let me continue down the path that I have chosen. I wait to hear what they will say.
I wait and I remind myself to breathe. Remind myself to write.
Remind myself to live.