the most heartbreaking, emotional, autobiographical book I will ever write

May 26, 2016 Writing  One comment

“If this is the last thing that I was writing, what would I write about?”

This question came up in a podcast I was listening to a few weeks ago.

It got me thinking: 

What is the the one thing I need to get out of me, and put out into the world before I’m gone?

What is the one piece of work that I would choose to represent who I am, who I was, for the rest of time?

It just happened to be a fortunate turn of luck that my current project, Running to Stand Still, is that piece of work.

Knowing the next few books I have on my docket (that’s what I call my agenda—because doesn’t it just sound so much more legit + fancy that way?), I can honestly say that Running to Stand Still will (probably) be the most heartbreaking, emotional, autobiographical book I will ever write.

Seriously, writing this tore me apart. At times, I was positive it was going to kill me.

It was as much a personal journey as it is a piece of work.

So if you’re wondering why it took me so damn long to write it, that’s why. (amidst all the moving + relocating) 

 

Running to Stand Still draws almost entirely from my past—places I’ve been, where I grew up, experiences I’ve had.

The story is set in Harper Woods, MI, which is the town my mom grew up in. It is the home of the church my Italian catholic grandparents attend, Our Lady Queen of Peace, where I’ve attended funerals and mass. Even though I grew up in nearby Eastpointe and Warren, to me, Harper Woods very much represents where I grew up + southeastern Michigan culture.

There is a scene (one of my faves) that takes place out on the frozen over Lake St. Clair behind a VFW hall. I’ve been out on that ice, behind that VFW hall, one winter when I was eight years old. 

There is a lot of Detroit culture in this book, as well—Red Wings games at the Joe, Wayne State University (my alma mater), dive bars, downtown Detroit, blue collar workers, the Big Three, the weather. Better Made chips, Cottage Inn pizza. 

I’ve been in so many bars like Charlie’s Place that I genuinely feel like I’ve actually stepped through those doors and sat down at the bar and had a drink. It’s a real, living place to me.

Honestly, there is so much of me and my life in this book that it’s hard to point out exactly what is fact from what is fiction. From the sound late November leaves make as the wind blows them over wet pavement, all the different games I’ve attended over the years—my own preK basketball team I played on with my cousins, my brothers hockey games, the one or two high school basketball games I actually attended, the music Jamie listens to (Guns N’Roses, System of a Down), the fallout of addiction, the dynamics of Jamie’s relationships, to Jamie herself. This book draws from every fiber of my being. 

And there’s so much more about this process that I can’t wait to get down on the page and share with you

 

Until then, farewell, & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity.

 

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One comment to the most heartbreaking, emotional, autobiographical book I will ever write

  • […] I’ve said before that this book will probably be the most emotional, autobiographical book I will ever write. […]

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