I mentioned that I was waiting to write the introduction to the Some College memoir until after the College Preparation Workshop had taken place, as I thought this would be the best place to start the narrative. Saturday was indeed a day of double-consciousness for me. It’s odd, looking into all of those young faces and being able to superimpose sixteen year old self in the mix. It’s disconcerting to realize that sixteen year old self was ten years and forty five pounds ago. Through all of the comparisons I could draw with my own life, the thing that stuck out to me the most wasn’t what I could have done with the same information we were imparting to them, but that it really didn’t matter. It couldn’t have been any other way for me than the way it was, just as their being present has forever influenced their future, whether they look back in gratitude or regret. Even if all they can say is they should have paid more attention or taken advantage of the wealth of information provided to them, a door of opportunity has been opened to them.
The thing is, as I looked back over what has transpired in my life, the experiences that have given me this particular story to tell, I can’t change a thing without changing the whole. I imagine my past as an advanced game of Jenga, at the point at which no matter what piece you move, you’ll topple the whole thing. I can say I wish I had gone to this school instead of that one, but that would mean I never met my boyfriend. Every single choice is integral to the whole. If I hadn’t made those missteps, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so passionate about ensuring that this workshop happened.
In my fiction work, it’s fun to take a real life crossroad and go right instead of left, to meander down the road of possibility, to see if I meet myself along the way. But in real life, everything happens the way it happens for a reason and it’s hard to be conscious of the splits where what could have been and what has been diverge in the wood.
I’ve heard that Anne Lamott says “anyone who has survived childhood has enough to write for a lifetime.” I can’t imagine telling any stories other than the ones time has gifted me…at least in the non-fiction sense. 🙂
It’s hard getting back into my 16-23 year old head, though. I’m in such a different space than I was then. I realize that now looking at all of those fresh, bored faces. My writing, journaling, and blogging during and after that time helps get me back in that head space. It’s going to be hard to unpack some of those pressed down, deeply packed memories and feelings, but now I think I’m finally ready to give it an honest try. The education workshop had to happen in order for me to understand how important it was for me to share my story.
I said all of this to say: I’m switching projects…again. 🙂
- Where You Need to Be to Write a True Story – Guest Post by Keija Parssinen (amandaswrinkledpages.com)
- Three Tips on Writing From Stephen King and Anne Lamott (gauravonomics.com)
- Circle Journals (productofloveliness.wordpress.com)
- For Colored Folks Who Considered Eating Chicken On The Dance Floor When Doin’ The Stanky Leg Wasn’t Enuf (threaders.wordpress.com)