Friday, March 16, 2012

Laying it all Out There: My Book

Today in tx, I talked to my therapist about my book.  Er, the book I haven't finished.  The book that is more than halfway completed, gathering dust in my "Brie's Writing" folder on my laptop.  The book I haven't touched in years.  That one.

My T was rather intrigued that I was actually talking about it, as in the past she remarked that I was really evasive when talking about my book.  And I am.  Because when people ask me what the book is about (which they INEVITABLY will, and usually sooner rather than later) how do I say that it's a book that is fiction, but the main character is very much similar to me, and how do I tell them that it's about pain and embarrassment and frustration and humiliation?  How do I tell them that the main character of the book isn't much of a heroine at all, but maybe a villain, but that that person is ME?  No one wants to hate the main character in a book.  And yes, all good characters are flawed, but what if they're fatally flawed?  What if you put the book down and think, I hate that girl?  I don't understand her.  Why did she do what she did?  Because in hating the main character, you hate me.

I stopped writing my book because it got too painful.  I still remember those nights that I'd stay up in the middle of the night, tapping away at my laptop, while my man and my man-child slept next to me.  And I  remember the tears coursing down my cheeks as I felt so many emotions and painful memories come back to me.  And then I thought to myself, How can I publish this book if the act of even writing it is so incredibly painful?  How will I be able to tolerate the entire world reading it when I can hardly tolerate reading it myself, because of all the emotion it brings up for me?  Writing that book was like stripping myself naked and offering myself to the world.  It was laying out every pain and humiliation and desire and flaw and vulnerability and then saying, Okay World, have at me.  Judge me.  Make fun of me.  Hate me.  Pick me apart.

It was just too much.  It got to the point where writing it hurt too much.
But now...
I'm wondering if not writing it is what really hurts.

This may sound corny and cliche; maybe something only that writers fancy themselves saying, but I feel like that story is doing everything it can to claw it's way out of me.  I may not be writing it, but I am thinking about it all the time.  I can't get away from it.  And so that's why, when some say that I should write a different book, maybe one that isn't so emotionally raw and painful for me, I can't.  I just can't.  Because this story needs to be told.  It's waiting for me.

So what do I do?  How do I get past the pain it brings up?  How do I reconcile myself to the idea that perhaps the entire world could read something so transparently vulnerable and raw and painful for me?  Do I continue to push it away, or do I let my story free?

They say you write what you know, so when all you know is yourself, and your pain, what do you do?


Erin said...

Write it for you. Don't write for the world to see. When it's done, it's up to you if you want to share that.

Tylaine said...

Although I have no idea what you've gone through Brie I do feel that you need to write your story. It is up to you if you wanna share it though, personnaly I'd love to read it! You've come so far Brie and are such a strong and courageous woman and I think you could touch so many lives with this. Look how many lives you've touched on your blog! You can show people that there is life after ED and it is beautiful!

Fight 4 Ur Lyfe said...

Hey gal,

I'm glad you posted today, because I whole heartedly look forward to when u write. Look forward to life as you see it.

I can completely understand where you are coming from in terms of the pain associated to writing about things that relate back to your own life. I've tried on several occasions to write a book, that's fiction, but still quite a bit based on my own own terrors. My pain. And I can make it about 100 pages in (when typing it out), but like you, the writing becomes almost paralyzingly. It's too hard to continue. Like you, I want to continue. It may even prove to be a large emotional release.

Whatever you choose, make sure you are writing in the right state of mind....otherwise youre just retraumatizing yourself all over- and thatmy friend,would be no bueno.

HopefullyGrowing said...

I don't know, I think I would love to read a book where the main character is the villain, especially when there are empathetic characters too.

Also, I've found that the only way I've ever gotten past things is by going through them.

Heather Lindquist said...

I think you should write it just for you, and then once it's done, you can reevaluate whether or not you'd want to try publishing it. I think you'd be surprised with how much others would be able to relate to your pain, embarrassment, humiliation, etc. I most admire those who admit their pain and even their flaws and shortcomings, more than those who pretend everything is hunky-dory....because we all know that's a pile of shit. Do it for YOU, and when it gets too overwhelming, take a break and have some pre-established plans of how you're going to deal with all the emotions.

jperry said...

That last sentence... wow.

I admire people who put themselves out there, people who say, "This was me, this is what I went through, this is me now." That takes courage and strength.

You are an amazing writer... I would read a book you wrote in a heartbeat. You might be surprised how many people who relate, not hate.

Do what is best for you. <3 Do it all for YOU and your wellbeing.


Sarah Hope said...

I'm of the mind of writing for you as well. Write the story that needs to be told...and try not to get bogged down in the idea of who else might read it. You might write it and decide it's just for you, not for the world, or you might not. I also think, that maybe curiosity about what the girl in the story has to say could be motivating. What's her story? How will it end? Sounds like she's demanding to have a voice, to be accepted wholly, imperfections and all. She may surprise you, because you and she may get through the pain. It may be worth it.

Sorry if that doesn't make much sense. I do hope you keep writing though!

Lou said...

I like what Erin said - write this book for yourself, and then decide whether you want other people to see it.

If you do decide to share it (and I hope you do!), you mught be surprised by how people react to it (you). Maybe YOU see yourself as a villain, but readers will be able to see the pain and hurt and whatever else that has made your main character do the things she does? Maybe you aren't giving your readers (or yourself) enough credit?

Also, the books that annoy me the most are the ones where you can tell the author is holding back and making everything nicey nice. If writing your story is so painful and overwhelming, then that will spill on to the page...and that's the kind of writing that I want to read.

So, this comment is all over the place, but in short, I hope you finish your book for yourself, and if you decide to share it, for your readers who will get so much out of it.

Telstaar said...

I haven't read any of the comments so apologies if I repeat anything...

You mention that you wonder how you can write the book when its soo very painful, its about you (even though it is still fictional as a genre) and you are the villian... but to me, I just see this beautiful opportunity for you to unravel all those beliefs and circumstances that have led to you being the villan. Perhaps you might just find that you're NOT a villan at all, that you're a human being with a range of emotions and a range of expressions of those emotions. Perhaps you're find a young terrified part inside that needs to be cuddled and nurtured because you can see her needs so much clearer on paper, perhaps you'll see that teenager or that young mum and realise that perhaps the hell they went through (even in things as "simple" as having to go to back into residential treatment a few months after C's birth) was just that, HELL and that by them surviving it shows you're strength and character. Perhaps you'll be able to reflect on where you're at now and realise that you're anything but a villan but you ARE the only person that can be YOU and that you are needed in this world and cannot replaced...maybe continuing to write the book, tears, frustrations and all, will help you on your journey through healing and end up with you realising that you are actually an okay person afterall - the person I know and love with all I have.

Love Telly xo

Telstaar said...

PS. I'm hanging out to read your manuscript and more then happy to help edit it and the like - no judgements attached! Just an offer :)

CH said...

If you write about what you KNOW and understand and experience, your book will be lightyears better than if you tried to write something else, just because it might be more emotionally comfortable, you know?
People learn best through their own authentic experiences, and if what you have experienced is pain, then write about that.
When you feel pain of rehashing your life story, that's okay - because you should also feel JOY and PRIDE for where you are today. You are now the mom of 2 amazing little babes and the wife of a loving husband and a talented writer.
Maybe I'm biased because I try to tell myself it's okay that I wasted so many years of my life involved with ED, because now I'm able to see what else I've accomplished.... but biased or not, as you write about your pain, remember that you are a SUCCESS. You are SUCCEEDING in recovery and you ROCK as a mom and a wife and now, a first-time home owner!
I personally think your book will be amazing, and that even if your readers perceive "you" as the main character to be a villian, they will still love the character!

Amy said...

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."

Just That ZombieGrrl said...

If you feel you need to write it, then you need to write it. Later, you can decide what to do with what you've written later. Maybe you'll want to publish it, or maybe you'll decide it's just for you -- that shouldn't be the concern while you're writing.

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