The writer who cried wolf … except, instead of “wolf,” he cried “I’m a writer.”

Remember last year, when I had that mini-nervous-breakdown in the parking lot at work and swore that it would serve as the launching pad for my creative-writing career? Well, since that time, I have successfully completed my first draft of … nothing.

Yes, that’s correct: Other than writing a few dozen posts for this blog, I, during the 18 months that have passed since I made that lofty proclamation, have done very little in the way of inching towards my goal of producing a complete written work. And by “very little,” I mean “nothing.”

Sure, there was that months-long foray into studying the art of fiction and screenwriting … but the primary outcome of that adventure was the realization that I’m infinitely more comfortable writing about my own life, even at its most unflattering, than I am at making up stories about other (fictional) people’s lives. Someday? Maybe. Right now? Not so much.

Thankfully (or perhaps regrettably; we’ll see) I still feel compelled to write, and still have people in my life encouraging me to do so … to include my mother-in-law, who last night took me into the big city to attend a memoir-writing workshop led by local author Beth Kephart. Beth’s appearance in Philadelphia marked yesterday’s release of her latest book, “Handling the Truth: On the writing of memoir.”

Handling the Truth

I can handle the truth … I think. Maybe.

Memoir is the thing I keep circling back to when I agonize over just what it is I should be writing … which probably comes as no surprise, since, as this blog’s mere existence would suggest, my favorite thing to write about is: Me.

And so, memoir. I’m going to try to write one. I even said as much to Beth Kephart last night while she was signing my copy of “Handling the Truth.” (I apparently realized the folly of my statement and subsequently burst into an awkward-looking fit of uncomfortable laughter, as captured in a picture Beth posted at her blog today.)

She graciously played along by acting as though she believed me, and even went so far as to inscribe my book with words of encouragement:

"To Jon, In honor of your memoir to be."

“For Jon – In honor of your memoir to be.”

So now I feel like I have to write one. Sheesh. Thanks for the pressure, Beth.

But, OK, I’m going to write one … just as soon as I get the cacophony of doubtful, self-defeating voices in my head to shut the fuck up, that is. I’m quite certain I’ve been listening to them for long enough.

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  1. Sandry H.
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh man. That is one of the BEST pictures of “uncomfortable laughing” I have ever seen.

    Then again, it may be the ONLY picture of “uncomfortable laughing” I have ever seen.

    Carry on, and write that damn book already! You’ve already got a future buyer/reader here. 🙂

  2. Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I too love that awkward laughing pic. Awesome, I had a similarly awkward moment when I met the Bloggess. Can’t wait to read the memoir. 😉
    Smokeynall´s most recent blog post: Bed Time Stories From The Grimm KeeperMy Profile

  3. Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    David Sedaris seems like he’s getting by ok. Fiction is over-rated and totally fake and made up.
    Meredith´s most recent blog post: You Must Be Confusing Us With People Who CareMy Profile

  4. Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    You CAN do it.
    And you will.
    Beth Kephart´s most recent blog post: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects/Stephanie LaCava: ReflectionsMy Profile

  5. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    You got this! I’ll totally buy it too!

  6. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh, oh, me too. I keep using my kids as an excuse, but I need to start writing right away. My place of employment is crushing me slowly.
    thedavidcmurphy´s most recent blog post: It’s All About The MoneyMy Profile

  7. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Write the damn book already! I’m sitting over here waiting to buy it and I’m getting tired of waiting!

    Gigi´s most recent blog post: If the good Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise; maybe I’ll even wash it.My Profile

  8. Pam
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    So, here’s the thing. Ask fiction writers how much of what they write is based on their own lives and experiences and I am sure many will admit that much of it is. So, I think a lot of fiction is just disguised realities or fantasies. And on the other hand, I often wonder how accurate memoirs and autobiographies are. I have noticed how greatly my own kids versions of events differ from each other… and especially my own siblings and my versions. (I know, I know.. it is all a matter of perspective.) So, I say just start writing. Even short blurbs, extended versions of what you write in your blog. The hardest part will be making time. So, set aside time — maybe one evening a week for 1 hour — and build from there. Eventually, it will be a happy habit and your yard will start to suffer…

  9. Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Jon, have you ever read Shirley Jackson’s “Life among the Savages”? It’s a memoir of sorts and very entertaining. You can do it, too.
    Gullible´s most recent blog post: Tour Guide, Part TwoMy Profile

  10. Posted August 10, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, y’all. It helps. 🙂

  11. Posted August 13, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    yes, please do!
    Father Muskrat´s most recent blog post: road trips to florida and alabama on crappy tires* will kill youMy Profile

  12. Posted August 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Awesome that you found your writing calling! I mean figuring out the genre part. I used to feel like, as SARK puts it, ‘I was a writer who didn’t write,’ or something close to that. And there is something magical when it hits you, what you want to write. Yay! Doing a memoir sounds great. All the best!
    Punky Coletta´s most recent blog post: Accepting Bodies as They AreMy Profile

  13. Posted August 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Uh oh . . . finding my way to this post might not be a good omen for my recent mini-nervous breakdown and the creative promises I have recently made.
    Robyn´s most recent blog post: Seeing things that I may never see again . . .My Profile

  14. Posted August 15, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Sometimes writing the book is scary shit.
    Jack´s most recent blog post: Blog Cancellation Fees- The Easy Way To MonetizeMy Profile

  15. Posted August 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Listen, I blow shit up no one’s ass. Honestly, I call it like I see it. You are a wildly talented writer. I’ve been quietly reading over the years. I know you. I may not say much but I’m reading. You have a gift. And at some point, you will get that pen to the paper and bang it out. It’s who you are. It’s just not the right time. It doesn’t mean it won’t come to pass. Just not right now. And with those two cherubs by your side and Wonder Woman at the helm, you’ll get it done. We all have faith in you.

    • Posted August 30, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Melanie. I appreciate the compliment & encouragement. Means a lot to me. 🙂
      You ain’t too shabby yourself. Hang in there.

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