What am I doing writing? I am a painter. I paint for a living, I teach painting for a living. I find both very satisfying. I love to paint. I love to teach others to paint. I now teach at a senior center, students who have retired and are seeking something of value in their retirement. Why am I writing?
Well this writing thing started out as a way to complete a rather length diatribe I began when I lived in China. I had about 700 pages of materials about my life there and wanted to work it into a book. Well 700 pages is way, way too much for a book. Thus I took a memoir writing workshop to figure out how to deal with it. I started recomposing the whole piece and got totally lost in the process. I am still working on it, but the momentum has come to a snail’s pace (or in the case of Washingtonians, a slug’s pace).
In the mean time, I wrote one piece for the monthly writer’s group that was the outcome of the workshop. There are 4 or 5 of us who meet monthly from that class that write and discuss our works. Since I had been told in class that when someone reads your work as a beta reader, they should not anticipate what you are saying. They should not have heard snatches of the work through other venues including readings in the group. So I started writing things to read in the group, in hopes that the group would be able to later function as my beta readers. I guess I got carried away and the memoir minus the China part of my life has come into being.
When I chose to write about my life (outside of China), I decided to write about the things and memories that made me happy. There is too much sadness in the world to foist it upon my readers and myself at this time in my life, approaching quickly, my seventh decade. So the pieces in the chapters, I hope, reflect the upbeat memories I have about my life. It certainly puts me in an upbeat frame of mind to write them. I don’t want my memoir to be a catharsis. I already went through that years ago when I had to deal with the bad things that had happened over the years. Hopefully, if you are feeling down, you will find some uplifting in spirit from reading these.