Saturday, November 28, 2009

Redemption Writing

Two weeks ago, I made a conscious decision to slow down, take a breather, and stop straining to fit everything into my schedule--hence the reason you haven't heard from me in a bit. Although I feel I thrive most when I am ambitious and fill my life with ALL the things I love, there comes a point when too much is too much, and either a) not a lot is getting accomplished anymore or b) things that shouldn't be on the back burner are there-- simmering.

How nice it has been to relax and not get down on myself for not being able to do it all, 100%, because really, I can't. However, my life continues in its fullness, but not in vain, instead, quite the opposite.

Last Saturday, I attended a memoir writing workshop at a little place called Writers' Dojo, in Portland, Or. It is a cozy open place to meet with other writers, and where writers come to share their ideas on the craft. There is also another building where writers can rent a space to use as a writing office. It makes for a nice little community.

I signed up for the workshop, because after having attended Wordstock, I realized that workshops are invaluable. There is nothing like attending a workshop to re-fuel the fire. I was especially interested in this workshop's writer, Kerry Cohen, a Portland based writer, and author of the memoir, Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity, and two other young adult novels.

Maybe I haven't quite relayed what I've been up to yet, but I am in the beginning stages of writing a memoir book proposal that I hope to have finished and into the hands of an agent before the Spring. When I found this workshop and saw that Cohen would be teaching, she struck me as a valuable teacher, as her work is geared toward the audience that I, too, have in mind while I write. And like her memoir, mine takes place during the same teenage years, and rings a similar tune of unraveling much too young. I know, I'm being vague?

Anyway, the workshop went well. It began with each of us writing a secret that we've never shared. Then she had us read them aloud! "This is what writing a memoir is like," she said. Initially, as I shared, I was shaking in my hands and in my voice, but by the end of the three hour workshop, I was steady and confident.

Memoir writing is therapeutic, and is a large part of why I am writing what I write. The other part of why I am writing such intimate recollections is that while I was young and as life happened, I didn't understand any of it, so I write with hopes that I can lend some direction and experience to those who are enduring a similar experience, and sadly, there are many.

At the end of the workshop, I spoke with Kerry for a moment to thank her for the class and asked if I could email her in the future. She told me that she was interested in my story and offered to be a mentor to me during my writing process. "Yes! Yes!" I said. "I would love and appreciate that!"

I left the workshop ecstatic that I'd been offered a mentorship, and with a woman who very much knows and relates with stories like mine. I knew that I couldn't pass up her class, and now I know more why. I have a feeling that she just might be an integral part in me bringing my raw truth to the page, and finding redemption in an experience that has held me captive over the years.

credit

9 comments:

a little bit biased November 28, 2009 at 8:55 PM  

Cassie, That is really exciting to have a mentor and I'm really excited that you have a goal so close to date! I'm so interested to read your novel one day. I know that I will be learning a lot from it too!

Erin November 28, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

So excited for you! I was thrilled to hear that she offered to be your mentor! How thrilling to have your talent recognized! I cannot wait to hear more and someday READ. :)

mme. bookling November 29, 2009 at 3:08 AM  

I love how this post begins with your realization that you cannot do it all.

And how this profound release brought about the realization of what it is you really want to be doing...which is not EVERYTHING, but SOMETHING.

This one dream.
Not everything.
But the most important thing.

I celebrate this success in advance.

Keri November 29, 2009 at 8:34 PM  

Wow. That is so exciting for you! Way to go for it. I've also been doing a few things and trying to get something up and going here...maybe I'll get around to posting. I think I'm about 10 posts behind, but that's life happening. :) Can't wait to hear updates about your work in progress.

Tammy November 30, 2009 at 2:10 PM  

Cass~ I love to read what you write. It's exciting to hear your goals and I look forward to your novel. Great news about the mentorship!

a little bit biased December 12, 2009 at 9:17 AM  

Cassie, I just broke into your fudge. It is so good and it was such a fun little surprise to receive for our First Day of Mail. This is going to be so fun! And the recipe card it was on was so cool! Did you make that card up? Well, just wanted to say thank you (and I got you down for the table runner giveaway. Thanks for entering!)

Jeannie December 12, 2009 at 12:23 PM  

I'm really looking forward to reading your book! That is so exciting about the mentorship. I'm tickled for you. Keep it up!

Cassie December 13, 2009 at 6:25 PM  

Thanks for all the warm wishes! I have some high hopes and aspirations--just have to keep trekking! Thanks for the support!

Oh, and so glad you ladies enjoyed the fudge!

petersteel December 17, 2009 at 9:41 PM  

that was really nice to read this.. that was really to read that stuff... great job... for more information reading Pittsburgh memoir writing, Pittsburgh storytelling, Pittsburgh corporate communication u can visit http://www.jayspeyerer.com/

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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