Access to my creative spirit tends to come to me when I am out on a run or driving. Quiet times when it is very difficult to write anything down. I need to get into the habit of recording ideas into my phone. I have done that in the Notes app a few times. When I come back to them I often think "what the hell was she smoking." But sometimes the idea sticks with you. Right now I have an idea to write a book or collection of essays with my mother where we each write our own experience of a perceived traumatic event, read each other's work and then talk and work it out in real time, then add that to the story. A cathartic and extremely terrifying proposition. But my mother is a good writer, and is an especially keen editor and I think she'd be game. I am working up the courage to ask her. Should I do it now? And record what transpires? Okay...here goes...
Okay, I kind of feel like going shopping right now. But all in all the conversation went okay-ish. She is not closed to the idea, but did use the word "terrifying," as well she should have. I don't by any means think I'm the first person to think of something like this. But I think my mom and I have a great story. Albeit a very difficult story, but I really want us to triumph. And I think I'm going to have to take the lead here.
I also jokingly said, "I probably should have started this project with Dad as he's more likely to die first, but that wasn't on my heart so, I'm starting with you." I have looked up stories about fathers and daughters and tried to find a book about the difficulties therein and have come up surprisingly short. The closest thing I found at the time was "Shit My Dad Says" which I highly recommend if you need a good laugh. I was looking at the time for a book on difficult relationships, that hopefully end in some kind of catharsis, on Dads and daughters. Nothing. Okay, I guess I may have to do that too. I KNOW I'm not the first to be graced with that idea either, but as my mother said, it sounds "terrifying." Ok, seriously, I just looked on the Google again for books about Dads and daughters and difficult relationships, and not once did I see a story about this. I saw a lot of "how to" books for either Dads or daughters or some books on dealing with a parent with "XYZ" diagnosis, but not a lot of stories about everyday difficulties. Okay, I gotta get on that one too. I told my mom, if The Project, we'll lovingly call it, turns out to be too much for you, we can make it a book about both you and Dad and I'll do the same stuff with him and we can combine it. I don't think she liked that idea as much, but she agreed.
I still feel like shopping. That may be because I'm feeling a little twisted up inside, I also am thinking, "what if they reject me?" What if they say no and don't want me to write this book. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'm going to write it, things could change, it could easily be swept away just as quickly as it appeared. Maybe I'd let go of it and think, "okay, not in this lifetime I guess...." That would sure be a hell of a lot easier than squirming my way through all the emotional conversations I've (we've) been avoiding with my parents. And I mean, why the hell do I want to know all this and why do I feel compelled to talk about it? I mean, does anybody else do this stuff? Did anyone out there do this? What happened?? Did you get closer to your parents? Did you argue and it irreparably harm your harmonious though distant relationship? Did it change anything? Did it change you?
That's what I want to know I guess. I want to know if it will make a difference. All the things left unsaid. If we say them, if we have the hard talk, will it be better once the pink elephant has left the room? God I hope so.
I can say this though. Even just now, I was giving my mother an example of a topic and I gave her a kind of benign, albeit funny, subject. Brushing my hair...we both laughed a little because we both find it funny now how much I screamed and how hard she tried to get it right and all the huffing and puffing along side of all the hair gel, clips and scrunchies. But it wasn't the topic I really wanted to talk about. I euphemized my own script. I wanted to say "remember the time I was sick when I was about 5 and you were so tired and screamed at me? I'd like to hear your side of that story." But I didn't. I was terrified. Okay, and maybe I also didn't want to scare her off, so I manipulated a little with something more enticing or less "terrifying." It's okay though, it was the first conversation. If we can really pull this thing off I'll be impressed. We are a family of starters, but not always finishers, so regardless of a book happening, I think even recording this information will be awesome for us, and especially some day for my daughters. I have loads of old pictures, and an occasional letter or two from ancestors in my family, but I don't know anything about who they actually were in their day to day life, and it would be nice to know them more. Like my great grandmother, Laura Strobell, who came to America from Germany to get away from a world war and start anew. I'd like to know more about her. So here we go.
We decided to try to pin down a structure for the book over the next month so we can then read each other's stories and then get together in person at Thanksgiving to record our conversation about the stories. I'm excited and overwhelmed. I'm going to thank the muse formally now for their gift of this creative project in hopes they stay and brave the storm with me. I'm going to need a bolster for this one. I don't know why you want this to see the light of day, but I am with you. I want to see it too. But be gentle with us, I don't have a large shopping budget these days and I want to also preserve my relationship with my husband, so let's just take it at a turtle's pace. They win the race in the end, so I think that's my spirit animal here. Okay, Amen, here we go....