In Defiance to This Polite Silence


Dear Ms. Feverfew:

I am writing a book.

However, I have never considered myself a “writer” per se – writers are people who sit around coffee shops on wet, Portland days, wrapped in chunky knit scarves while thinking deep thoughts about life. They are word Nazis and never make a grammatical error, and heaven forbid, never leave a participle dangling. And if anyone knows me, that is so not me.

But according to James Pennebaker, writing is what I need to do to be the healthiest me I can be. I need to write. To come to the realization I need to write more than just a blog but a book, has been a difficult path because I don’t feel like what I *think* a writer should feel like.

But I need to write. A lot. I need to write this whole story out and lay it all out there on the line, come what may. Does writing a book make me a writer? Or does the fact I carry my mother’s DNA make me a writer? She’ a *real* writer. I just dabble.

At any rate, in preparation to write this book, I have been reading and doing the exercises in Tristine Rainer’s “Your Life as Story.” One of the exercises is to write an apology/disclaimer for the beginning of the book (which may or may not be used in the final version – it is merely to give oneself permission to write creatively).  So here is my apology/disclaimer.

To protect the privacy of certain individuals, I have in many ways disguised their identities. Sometimes I have taken poetic license with events to protect both the innocent as well as the guilty. However, the truth remains substantially intact.

I believe the proscriptions placed on a natural mother’s speech foster feelings of shame and purchase her silence. This leads her to minimize and trivialize losing her child and prevents her from uncovering the depth of sorrow and the complexity of loss adoption brings into her life.

In defiance to this polite silence, I speak as plainly and truthfully as my psyche will permit. (Adapted from Nancy Mairs in Remembering the Bone House).

So tell me, what do you think? Is it a good beginning?

Much love and belief –

M.

P.S. Pennebaker’s new book “The Secret Life of Pronouns” is fascinating reading. It helped me understand why I struggle so with writing in the present tense and was chock full of other *really* interesting stuff.

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7 thoughts on “In Defiance to This Polite Silence

  1. It’s a great beginning and I was particularly interested in
    “I believe the proscriptions placed on a natural mother’s speech foster feelings of shame and purchase her silence. This leads her to minimize and trivialize losing her child and prevents her from uncovering the depth of sorrow and the complexity of loss adoption brings into her life”.If you have been following the Australian Government Inquiry into forced adoption you may see the opposite has been true for the generation of mothers writing and speaking about their experiences.For my own mother it certainly was true that she was a broken woman, shamed and defeated by guilt and the expectations that she would forget, remain silent and suffer her secondary infertility without complaint.

  2. My favorite part was the last line: “In defiance to this polite silence, I speak as plainly and truthfully as my psyche will permit.” It reminds me of a favorite quote by Eliza R. Snow, “I will go forward…I will smile at the rage of the tempest, and ride fearlessly and triumphantly across the boisterous ocean of circumstance…” I guess it is the courage we have to show to conquer our own boisterous oceans of circumstance. Write on.
    Starr

  3. I would bet there are many of us who like your writing style and would really like to read your book! So, write, write, write for yourself and the rest of us will wait with anticipation to read it.

    Sara

    • Thank you. It is going to be a challenge to overcome the “poor me, no one cares about me” thinking I sometimes fall into, as evidence by yesterday. Your support is greatly appreciated!

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