Simply mentioning my book for the first time in months set off an internal maelstrom capped by complete panic in the grips of which I considered quitting writing and getting a job at the mall.
This reaction would be amusing if it weren’t so predictable. Since the first, seamless, innocent draft, the thought of editing my manuscript has sent me into spinning anxiety.
I can never decide no matter how much I prod my mind and my soul if this anxiety is a normal reaction to a monumental task like writing a book or a sign that I shouldn’t be writing this particular book.
I recently read in the New Yorker that David Foster Wallace said, “the big distinction between good art and so-so art lies in being willing to sort of die in order to move the reader.” I don’t purport to be on his level (nor end like him), and he wrote fiction, but I will be brave enough to suggest that this statement might be even truer when one is writing memoir.
When I think about what I will have to scrutinize, parse out and reveal about myself to make this book truly good, it kind of makes me want to throw up. It’s exciting to think that this could be possible and moving to an audience, and terrifying to think about how difficult it will be and how, should I fail, I will have simply laid my guts out on the table to be picked apart by vultures.