Every page was once a blank page


thW05OAYQLEvery page was once a blank page, just as every word that appears on it now was not always there, but instead reflects the final result of countless large and small deliberations. All the elements of good writing depend on the writer’s skill in choosing one word instead of another. And what grabs and keeps our interest has everything to do with those choices (Quote from: How to Read Like a Writer)

I’m writing an autobiography. You may consider that the ultimate in narcissistic self indulgence but let me assure you, it’s not. It’s a white-knuckle, teeth gritting, experience. And I find that in the process of constructing a narrative around the events of my life from this distance and perspective, I’m reshaping the stories I’ve been telling myself for decades.

It’s an unsettling phenomenon. Writing my life has forced me to choose words to describe characters, situations, and the emotions around them. In order to select those words, I am forced to return to that time and re-live the feelings. But I’m in a much different place now than I was then, so the information I bring to the process casts it in new light.

It’s the ultimate therapy. First I question, Did it really happen that way? and I have to honor what comes up. But when I begin searching for words things get sticky. I go deeper into the emotional memory to find clues for the framing of it. Then without warning, it takes on a different energy. Even though I’m the author…even though it’s my story…the words I choose have such power of suggestion that my understanding of the event expands and I see it with different eyes.

The transformational nature of writing continues to delight me. Turning feelings and thoughts into words changes those feelings and thoughts. Some of the impetus is transferred to the page. It can be a shocking surprise to read what comes out of my pen, or the keys of my computer. When that happens, a delicious thrill shivers through me. It’s as though a hidden part has been revealed, a secret I wouldn’t otherwise share.

I have filled this blank page with countless large and small deliberations. Words. They’re what I love about writing!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 04:16:42

    You write so beautifully, Sherry. I can quite understand though the torture that you are putting yourself through to write your autobiography, you are Very brave! Another way of looking at it I guess is that if it wasn’t painful, hard, difficult or complicated, if it was easy as vanilla, then what a dull life you would have spent. All those experiences have helped shaped the gorgeous, generous spirit and wonderful lady that you are today. All the very best and I hope that in time we shall be able to enjoy reading the fruits of your hard labours. xxx



  2. writingforselfdiscovery
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 05:21:20

    It’s funny that Ketut and I had this conversation yesterday. Sempurna means perfect in the Indonesian language and he told me that it was not permitted to use that word to describe people, only things. Of course my “Why not?” got the expected answer…”Because people are a little good, a little bad, cannot be perfect.” I guess it’s a universally accepted truth.



  3. Trackback: Writing Your Life Story, One Magical Memory at a Time

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