My Writing Process (Memoir Journal 4)

Memoir Journal 4 (September 22nd, 2020)

What is your writing process?

My writing process is. . . .chaotic. Inconsistent. When I write, I usually do a lot of pre-writing in my head (seriously, I’ve written like entire novels and series in my head. . . .now if only I could translate that onto paper. . .) while watching some show. Usually Charmed, Buffy, or Criminal Minds. Sometimes Supernatural or Law and Order: SVU. Once I have a clear thought, a clear sentence—a first line—then if there’s no paper around, I use my phone and type up that one line that stuck with me. That way I don’t forget it. On my phone, I have probably over 100 notes of my writing.

Often I get struck with inspiration while I’m either walking around the neighborhood listening ot music or laying in bed trying (and failing) to fall asleep. After I have that first line, I tend to jump three or more so paragraphs ahead. I skip the the parts of the story I know.

That’s when I pull out my notebook to write some “blurbs” of the same story, and even though they aren’t in order, they’re all connected. They are all part of the same story. I know where I am going with the story, it’s simply fitting all those pieces together.

After a while between my bad writing (and my carpal tunnel and/or arthritis) which becomes even more unreadable because well, it always is and it gets worse when my hand can’t write fast enough for my brain. That’s when I switch to my laptop. I type up what I’ve written, including all the blurbs. It’s during this process where it all begins to click in my head. (I get really excited when that happens.)

Once everything that I wrote on my phone or in my notebook, that’s when I start writing more. I used to edit while I typed but then I realized that it prevented me from really writing. Instead, I type until I can’t anymore. Until there are no more words I can type. That’s when I go back and edit.

I like colors. Red means that it needs to completely go. Blue means that it’s almost there but needs to be reworded. Green means it’s been edited and can probably go back to black.

Sometimes after I’ve been editing a while, I don’t see the typos or punctuation or anything. When that happens, I change the font. It helps me to see the things I couldn’t before.

What is your writing process?

-K

Know Thyself (Memoir Journal 3)

Yesterday in Memoir, we were given these prompts. These are my responses. Enjoy. I didn’t have the writing bug yesterday so these are shorter responses.

Memoir Journal 3 (September 8th, 2020)

What path did you not take that might be worth exploring?

Towards the end of spring 2020, I was faced with two decisions: to teach or to work in the office of communication. It was a very tough decision. Extremely. I chose to be a GA at the Office of Communications at UA Little Rock. However, I wonder, what if I chose to be a teacher? Especially in this environment? How would this semester be different as a new teacher trying to navigate teaching students, while also navigating the new learning environment as a new graduate student myself? Would I have a different point of view because I’m a student as well? Would that bring a unique point of view? Would it help or adhere me? Would teaching help me get out of the funk I’ve been in since March?

Which is clearer, the facts or the emotions?

I can’t tell you what I was wearing on that day. But I can tell you how I feel. I can tell you how it was two days before Christmas and my mother wasn’t home. There were no presents and the younger three were due back any day. I can tell you about the panic, the fear that they would come home and there would be no Christmas for them.

How well do you trust your memory?

As I get older, I realize that I remember more than I thought. Memories that I thought were suppressed, or gone, are really more like a fog that’s slowly clearing out. No, I don’t remember what I was wearing, but the emotions, the words even, that is clear. How I felt was clear. And I’m remembering things that I didn’t even know I knew. Things that makes me think, oh. That’s why. Makes me realize little things about myself.

How do you feel about the concept of understanding yourself?

I feel like one of those cheesy gurus who is like you must find your inner peace. Bullshit. Understanding myself? How can I when it’s always changing? No. I can try to understand who I am, but like that’s near impossible. How can I begin to? Know thyself. Yes, okay. But also, discover yourself while trying to understand yourself.

-K

Forgive Her Too (Memoir Journal 2)

Yesterday in Memoir, we were given these prompts. These are my responses. Enjoy. A few of them hit me harder than others, so I wrote more. While others I struggled with. If you find one you like, respond to it. And if you want, share with me.

Memoir Journal 2 (September 1st, 2020)

What makes you who you are?

I feel like I could answer this question if I had more time ot process it. It’s a broad question I feel because who i am is constantly changing. I am like the weather. Some days I am a cloudy day, those when the depression and self-doubt take over. Somedays, I am a perfect sunny day when I feel like I can take on the whole world. And then some. What makes me who I am? I guess if I had to answer, it would be how determined I am.

What is it that changes you?

Life changes me. People change me. They come into my life and sometimes they leave a mark, a scar. That can be good or bad. Life changes me because it’s always changing. Nothing ever stays the same so how can I really stay the same? How can I not change with what I experience day by day. By day. I don’t believe I’m the same person I was 10 years ago, 10 hours ago, or even 10 minutes ago. I think that you sometimes have to change to be better than who you were before. How can you not change? How can you remain still and let everything, and everyone pass you by. What changes me, is well, me. It’s a choice I make.

How much of yourself is innate? How much is learned?

What have I learned by others or Google, about myself. I’ve learned, or rather heard from others that I’m too sensitive. Or is that innate? Was I already aware of that? How can we really determine what of ourselves is innate and how much is learned? How do you even begin to measure something that really isn’t quantifiable? What do those words innate and learned even mean? What is innate about yourself? It is my sensitivity? My empathy? The fact that I can’t walk a flat surface?

What role does self-delusion play in your identity?

I read somewhere that you never truly see yourself. That the person you see in the mirror, while yes is you, it’s an image that your mind creates. That you see yourself as maybe better or worse than others see you. Alternatively, when others look at you, they see what they want to see. So really, no one truly sees you, not even you. In a way that’s a delusion. A self-delusion. Of course, if you think about it, we all have delusions. Or self-delusions. I know when I write, I say the things I want to say but was too afraid to say at that point. I’m braver in my writing than in real life. That’s who I want to be. But that’s not who I am. So isn’t that a self-delusion?

Which of your past selves still confounds you?

If I could go back in time and without screwing up the timeline, I’d go back to my 15 year old self. She confounds me in the way, that she doesn’t confound me. Not because I don’t get her, or rather I don’t want to get her. She was selfish, or rather, she seemed so fake. Like she had many masks. So many masks. Which part of her was real? Was she the good older sister? The one who helped with homework? Or was she the girl who caused drama intentionally for something to do? A distraction? The one who everyone called two-faced, and other names. Who was she? Or rather, why was she? Where did she come to be? How as she born? Created? A part of me wants to know that I’m no longer that 15 year old girl. That I have changed. But I also want to understand her, see what she was going through. Tell her it’ll be okay. And maybe, in a way, forgive her too.

Name your beginnings.

I began as a sister. That’s the only role I knew. That role was often interchangeable with mother. Since I didn’t have one. Not one that cared. Being a good older sister, was all I knew. Besides being the perfect daughter. The one who never questioned. Never complained. And I began again as a prisoner. Cinderella. But there were no mice to make me a pretty dress. Only rats to step on and squeak as they died a slow painful death. No birds to sing. Only a younger sister to yell at me. A brother who came and went putting who knows what in his body. While I was left to care for the two little brothers, shield them from the cold hard truth. I had to be their sister, their mother. There was no time for a prince charming. Only a house with no water, no power, no food. No mother. Only me. I began again after moving to Iowa, and I thought I had found a home. But it was simply another prison.

-K