Hello. It’s me again. I have no idea what I’m doing here, making another appearance, but I guess I’m taking a break from it all. I haven’t been painting the last couple of days, but I suppose I will resume on Tuesday. It’s too late in the day now (Monday at 3:20 PM) and I like to paint when there’s still some good daylight out. I don’t really like the artificial light honestly. It casts too many shadows, and some of it is yellow – depending on where I’m working.
I’ve been working in the house lately, in my office space at my drawing table, or my “watercolor station.” It’s been cold out in the studio and I suppose I’ve been kind of holing up close to the heater. I haven’t left the house much. Like I mentioned before, I have been purging out my closet and my desk and now I’m onto the rest of the office.
Other than that, I have been working more or less on my book. I can’t believe I’ve been working on it for six years now. I can’t believe it’s been that long, but it’s not like I have been working on it everyday, and I did take a year off of it completely while working on Exodus.
I hate using the term “autobiography,” but that’s what it is. I prefer “creative non-fiction.” I suppose in all reality it is just a memoir about surviving a tumultuous childhood and a few other abuses. It features my life as an almost rock star, some celebrity cameos, lots of Los Angeles art world shenanigans, and other aspects of being a self-made person with disabilities and chutzpah. It’s a survival story really, with a little bit of humor – or as much as I can muster.
My family was so dysfunctional that those characters are actually humorous, so I don’t have to even try to be funny really. It’s a sad funny, but it’s still funny. My dad never knew that dinosaurs existed until I told him they did. My mom was a kleptomaniac that stole my school clothes and electronics for the house. And all the while the whole family moved residences more than 15 times before I was even nine years old. No wonder I left so young. But there was also sexual abuse to boot. And that was the last straw.
I’ve been told that some of these things would make for a pretty interesting book. I just needed to write it well, which is what I’ve been working on. It’s not easy though. I get hung up a lot on thinking I have to make it “perfect” and that’s not the way to write a book. First you have to just write it all out, no matter how bad it is, and just get it all down on paper (or the computer rather). I know I’ll be coming back later to refine it, but I get held up anyway with trying to craft little bits and pieces before they are all the way out of my system, which is actually a waste of time when you think about it since many things might be edited it out eventually. No use finessing any part quite yet if it’s not even going to be used.
Today I actually spent a pretty good amount of time on it, but I can only sit there so long. I wrote almost 4000 words. That’s a lot for me in one day. I don’t usually get that much done. I will probably write a little more before the day is over too because I’m sort of on a roll and I’ve been working on it a lot lately, so the muscle is being used I guess.
I’ve been writing it all chronologically (for the most part), but I am not going to be piecing the final book together that way. I actually started it with my 40th year, which is around where I plan to start it, then jump around. I am planning on reading a few other memoirs that are written in this manner to get an idea on how to do this smoothly, but part of me doesn’t want to do that. I kind of want to just try it on my own first and maybe do that later on.
My 40th year was significant in that I lost both my parents and it will give me a chance to segue into my family and childhood. That’s basically the order in how I wrote it too. But then there are certain traumatic scenes I wrote right away to get out of the way and most of those are all behind me now. They are pretty much finished pieces and just need some polishing. I did that on purpose so I wouldn’t have to rehash them too much – mostly just cut and paste them in.
Is this the way you write a book? I have no idea, but this is how I’m doing it. There’s probably a true formula though. One I’m paying no real attention to. I’ve realized how impatient I am. Or maybe I’m really patient! I’ve tried really hard not to rush through things. Some parts I feel like maybe I have, but when I do that, I know I’ll be coming back over those parts. What gets me is that every time I think I’m close with being done with the first draft, there’s more! If I tell you where I am chronologically, you won’t think I’m very far: I’m at 23 or so. But keep in mind, all of my 30s are a couple chapters at the most and 40 is finished. I vowed not to go past 40, even though there’s at least another half a book there for sure.
Until next time…